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Mitt Romney declines Nickelodeon 'Kids Pick the president' special

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama speak during their first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Colorado. (Oct. 3, 2012) Credit: AP

Every four years, candidates decide which talk shows to appear on and which ones to stiff, but they usually agree on a common and presumably harmless denominator:  Linda Ellerbee's "Kids Pick the president: The Candidates," a Nick News special.

It's a noteworthy special for many reasons, mostly for the fact that Ellerbee and her Lucky Duck Productions have long given voice to the most voiceless members of the electorate — kids — but also because this special has a habit of actually picking the eventual winner a month before Election Day. How is this possible? Perhaps because kids tend to pick the nominee they hear mom and dad talking about so effusively over the dinner table.

An airdate has been set for the special — Monday, Oct. 15 — but there's one major omission so far: Mitt Romney has declined to participate. Holdouts on this special are rare — in fact, quite possibly unheard of.  (This story appeared on TMZ earlier today.) President Obama taped his responses to kids' questions earlier.  

Ellerbee wrote me (and presumably other tv writers) a note a little while ago, and here's what she said:

 "I'm disappointed because, to me, answering kids' questions directly shows respect for the several million kids who will vote in Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the president campaign. That's several million kids who actually WANT to get involved in the democratic process. They don't deserve to be dissed. But former Governor Romney also blew off Letterman (and Big Bird), so I guess we're in good company. But I'm still hoping, and the door is open until midnight October 14. We'll meet him anywhere he says."

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