Vivek Ramaswamy Was Not the Only Presidential Hopeful to Appear on MSNBC’s Hardball as a Young Man in 2003


A video of Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy asking a question as a young man at an MSNBC Hardball town hall in 2003 went viral this week. But Ramaswamy wasn’t the only recent presidential hopeful to appear in a Hardball town hall Q&A in 2003.

A clip of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also went viral this week after social media users realized Ramaswamy and Buttigieg had appeared on the show before either of their political careers had taken off.

While some social media posts suggested that the two men had appeared in the same Q&A at the same town hall, in reality, they appeared at separate events that took place just one week apart.

An 18-year-old Ramaswamy appeared in the Hardball audience on Oct. 27, 2003. He asked then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton why Americans should vote for the candidate “with the least political experience” — a question which came back to haunt Ramaswamy this week as the current Republican presidential candidate with the least amount of political experience.

Twenty-one-year-old Buttigieg, meanwhile, appeared in the audience a week later on Nov. 3, 2003. He asked Sharpton’s rival, the then-Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, a question about obtaining the youth vote.

“Congressman, why are you the only presidential candidate not attending tomorrow’s youth-oriented Rock the Vote forum, and do you think young people’s votes matter to your campaign?” asked Buttigieg.

Gephardt replied:

They matter a lot, that’s why I’m here tonight, and I’ve got to be in Iowa. I had a pre-set meeting that I’ve got to go to. I gotta win Iowa, I’m gonna win Iowa, so I’m gonna be in Iowa tomorrow night. But I talk to young people everywhere I am, I’ve got lots of young people on my campaign, and maybe I ought to say this now. When I was in college, Jack Kennedy was president, and I was moved when he said to young people like me, ‘Get involved in politics. Give part of your life to politics.’ So I just want to say to all of you here, get involved in public life, give back to your country, don’t just take from it, and get involved in this campaign, and if it’s not for me, get behind somebody, and get out there and work and make this country a better place.

Host Chris Matthews played the clip for Buttigieg when he became the subject of his own town hall on MSNBC’s Hardball in June 2019. In a twist, Matthews also invited Gephardt to ask Buttigieg a question during the Q&A.

Watch above via MSNBC.

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