- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Unwilling to offend voters on either side of the aisle, both President Barack Obama and his likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney refused to take sides in a co-host feud between Toby Keith and Kristen Bell on Wednesday night during the CMT Music Awards.

The two candidates taped video segments to weigh in on the debate over who should actually host the show, but as you might expect from voter-minded politicians, both passed on actually making a decision.

“This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make since I’ve been in office, but I decided I want them both,” Obama said.

Romney then also suggested they work as co-hosts and added, “See, I just put two people back to work.”

With the decision made, Keith and Bell arrived at the stage in a huge replica of a red solo cup, in deference to Keith’s hit song.

The hi-jinx continued when Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood won the first award, collaborative video of the year for “Remind Me.”

Upon hearing their names, Paisley leaped to his feet and wrapped his arms around Underwood’s hunky husband, NHL star Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators.

Odds were good Underwood’s name would be called later in the evening when the night’s top honor, video of the year is handed out.

Here’s how the video of the year category has gone from 2007 to 2011: Carrie Underwood. Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift. Carrie Underwood. Taylor Swift.

At last check, none of the category’s other nominees has conceded, but it’s easy to see the fan-voted writing on the wall. Underwood is nominated twice in the category and is the top nominee with five total. Two-time female video of the year winner Miranda Lambert is next with four nods, and Swift leads a host of stars with three apiece.

Together that trio of stars has won 15 trophies since Underwood first flashed onto the scene at the 2006 awards after winning “American Idol.”

Underwood’s latest hit, “Good Girl,” Swift’s “The Hunger Games” soundtrack entry “Safe & Sound” with The Civil Wars, Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You,” Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” made the final cut for video of the year before the show and fans will determine a winner during the broadcast.

The awards, though, can sometimes be secondary to the ruckus raised during the show.

Things will be amped up this year with a stage set outside the arena where Paisley and Hank Williams Jr. will perform along with Eric Church. And stars scheduled to appear include Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti (better known in country circles as Mr. Ashley Judd), skateboarder Tony Hawk, actresses Ashley Greene and Denise Richards, singer Jordin Sparks and “Idol” contestants Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine.

Many of country’s top stars will perform with Chesney, Lady A, Paisley, Lambert’s Pistol Annies, Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown Band on the schedule. And Willie Nelson will be joined by Keith, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker and Jamey Johnson for a special performance of his new song “Roll Me Up.”





Follow https://www.twitter.com/AP_Country for the latest country music news. And follow Entertainment Writer Chris Talbott at https://www.twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.

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