LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mitt Romney may want to reconsider his campaign strategy involving the pint-size voters of tomorrow.
The Republican presidential candidate skipped the chance to take part in Nickelodeon's "Kids Pick the President" special that includes President Barack Obama, said Linda Ellerbee, the show's host and executive producer. The decision "disses" children, she said.
During last week's presidential debate, Romney vowed to cut federal funding for PBS while acknowledging it's the home of popular "Sesame Street" character Big Bird.
"Kids Pick the President: The Candidates," with videotaped questions for the candidates from youngsters nationwide, debuts Oct. 15 on the children's channel. Afterward, an online poll asks kids to make their pick.
Romney's campaign said "he simply didn't have time. He couldn't fit it in his schedule," Ellerbee said Monday.
His decision is disappointing because "answering kids' questions directly shows respect for the several million kids who will vote in Nickelodeon's 'Kids Pick the President' campaign," she said.
"That's several million kids who actually want to get involved in the democratic process," Ellerbee said. "They don't deserve to be dissed. But former Gov. Romney also blew off Letterman and Big Bird, so I guess we're in good company."
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment.
Since 1992, when Nickelodeon began airing the Q&As, only two other candidates have declined to take part, Ellerbee said: Democratic contender John Kerry said no in 2004, which prompted President George W. Bush to withdraw. Bush participated in 2000.