Mitt Romney isn’t have a good week with kids TV. First, he said he likes Big Bird but wants to cut funding for PBS during last week’s debate. Now, Nickelodeon says Romney declined an invitation to participate in their traditional “Kids Pick the President” election special, even though Barack Obama said yes.
Nickelodeon has been running the specials for the past six elections and this is the only time a candidate has declined besides John Kerry in 2004 (which prompted George W. Bush to cancel his planned appearance the same year). Obama has already taped his responses to questions asked by kids to be included in the special.
The cable network notes in a statement, “After numerous attempts by Nick News to get former Governor Mitt Romney to participate in the special, his camp declined, saying he was unable to fit it into his schedule.”
Nick News host Linda Ellerbee adds, “By answering kids’ questions directly, candidates show respect for kids. We are disappointed that Mitt Romney wouldn’t take the time to answer the questions, but are thrilled that President Obama participated in the special.”
The long running specials encourage kids to pay attention to the election and raise issues important to them. Nickelodeon then allows kids to cast their “vote,” and the results have matched the final Presidential outcomes in five of the last six elections.
After learning of Romney’s decision, Obama’s team issued a statement: “It’s no surprise Romney decided to play hookey. Kids demand details, and I’m sure they want some answers on why Romney could increase their class sizes, eliminate their teacher’s jobs, raise taxes on their families and slash funding for Big Bird. Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, ‘The dog ate my homework’ just doesn’t cut it when you’re running for president.”
“Kids Pick the President: The Candidates” will air Oct. 15, sans Romney.