ti_web.jpgLOS ANGELES (AP) — The MTV Video Music Awards are all about unique collaborations and blowout performances, but a few show guests Sunday, Sept. 8 added a touch of politics in this hot election year.

Host Russell Brand drew hearty applause when he said in his opening monologue he hoped the U.S. would elect Democrat Barack Obama in November.

He said that “some people — racists” may not be ready to elect a black man as president, but then he noted that the nation was open-minded enough to put a “dumb cowboy” in office for eight years.

Russell Simmons voiced his views on the red carpet before the show.

“Palin, what's that?” Simmons asked about John McCain's choice for running-mate. “He went all the way to the right and got the most conservative person who knows nothing about the struggle of most Americans and made her the vice presidential nominee. That's amazing. Any skirt will do.”

T.I., meanwhile, took a quieter approach, wearing a T-shirt during his performance with Rihanna that read, “Respect my vote.”

Photo: T.I.