The Romney campaign has long been notoriously evasive when it comes to questions from the press. But even by Mitt Romney's exacting standards, Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President special doesn't seem like a tough interview. So why did his campaign tell Nickelodeon that he would not be participating in the special?
"The half-hour special gives both candidates' biographies, then shows their answers to questions solicited from kids all over the country," said host Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday's The Last Word. One illustrative question, asked by a hard-hitting young boy during the 2008 presidential election, was: "Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. When you were a kid, what was your favorite costume?"
"We don't ever know, really, why" candidates withdraw from the special, said Kids Pick the President host Linda Ellerbee, "because we don't talk to the candidate. We talk to the candidate's staff. And we began talking to the Romney staff six months ago, in April, and they were very encouraging. ... And then, something happened, we don't know what, but all of a sudden it was, 'He can't fit it into his schedule.' And that's all they would ever say."
Since 1992, the nominees of both major parties have appeared in the special every election cycle, except for during the 2004 race. At the end of each special, children vote for who they think should be president; according to Ellerbee, her pint-sized audience has accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential election except for 2004.