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Obama Faces Tough Questions at MTV Town Hall

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Young adult voters were given the opportunity to pose questions to President Obama Thursday afternoon about issues that directly affect them, including college affordability, Internet harassment, and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

BET, CMT and MTV sponsored A Conversation with President Obama, a formal dialogue with the president and 225 young people.  The live broadcast aired online and on all three of the Viacom channels as a “town hall” forum aimed at maintaining Obama’s connection with young voters -- a relationship he successfully built during his 2008 campaign.

The diverse group of young adults, comprised largely of students and college faculty, did not waste any time in addressing serious concerns.  There were questions on the Tea Party, Sudan and whether he believes that being gay is a choice (he does not).

Cynthia Myer, a Republican from Austin, Texas, questioned the President’s promise of bipartisanship, particularly in regards to how the health care bill was passed.  Obama responded by noting that he and other Democrats repeatedly held meetings with Republicans aimed at finding common ground for health care.

“Although I’m a proud Democrat, I’m a prouder American,” he said to assuage concerns he might be more concerned with political ties than with enacting important policy.

The health care bill signed into law in early 2010 allows young adults under 26 years of age to remain on their parents’ health care plan whether they are employed, married, or in school.

MTV asked audience members and viewers around the world to share their thoughts using hash tags on Twitter like #askJobs and #askEducation.  They also asked young adults to share their greatest hopes and fears.  Halfway through the show, viewers had already reportedly sent 10,000 tweets.

When asked about racial tension in the country, Obama said, “You guys are going to the be the messengers of this continued strengthening of the diversity of this country.”

At the event, Alicia Thompson, a Howard University junior from Edison, N.J., shared her hope with the president that in 10 years, more black men would be enrolled in college than incarcerated.

“Honestly, the numbers aren’t even important anymore,” Thompson told ABC News after the town hall. “The more important question is: How do we raise up the next generation to do things better than they were done before?”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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