In 1994, MTV helped usher "boxers or briefs?" into the cultural lexicon, and during the last election, we made national headlines with the phrase "brothers should pull up their pants." In between, we've covered conventions and campaign speeches, held town halls on college campuses, and crisscrossed the country aboard buses and trains and planes. Needless to say, it's been a pretty epic ride.
From Choose or Lose to Power of 12, MTV has been intimately involved with politics for two decades now, bringing the concerns of young voters directly to the candidates. And that tradition will continue tomorrow with "Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview With the President" a half-hour sit-down with Barack Obama hosted by MTV News' Sway Calloway, with questions provided by you.
You can submit those questions right now by hitting up the MTV Facebook page, then tune in for the answers this Friday, October 26 at 5 p.m. ET (tape delayed PT) across all of MTV's screens. (MTV has also invited Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, to participate in a similar live special and hopes to conduct a sit-down interview with him in advance of Election Day on November 6.)
Over the past 20 years, MTV has hosted a slew of other forums, welcoming candidates from both sides of the political spectrum, from Al Gore to John McCain. We put Bill Clinton on the spot not just about his choice of underwear, but whether he'd ever try to inhale marijuana again ("Sure, if I could!" was his joking response). Tabitha Soren quizzed George H.W. Bush about jobs aboard a train and rode with then-candidate Clinton and his wife Hillary on their campaign bus. Eight years later, Gideon Yago grilled George W. Bush about what his presidency would mean to young voters and rode shotgun with John Kerry. We've partnered with organizations like Rock the Vote and Diddy's Citizen Change. But through it all, since MTV began covering politics in 1992, our efforts have been geared toward one goal: helping young people engage with — and understand — the candidates running for office so they have a voice in the political process.
Along the way, perhaps we've even managed to put our own unique stamp on the political process, something that every candidate we've covered over the past two decades has not only understood, but come to appreciate as an integral part of winning it all. Like then-candidate Obama said in 2009: "When you look at the history of this campaign, what started out as an improbable journey was carried forward, was inspired by, was energized by young people all across America."
And in 2012, that message is as true as ever — if not more so.