Mitt Romney has become the first major presidential candidate to turn down the Presidential Youth Debate since it began in 1996, according to its organizers.


This year, President Barack Obama answered five questions, including one regarding youth unemployment and another concerning the rising federal debt. Romney, on the other hand, is completely absent from the debate, having declined requests to respond.

"In June both President Obama and Gov. Romney were invited in the hope they would both take this opportunity to address millions of young people about the issues that are most important to them," the organizer of the debate said in a statement. "Unfortunately, despite our efforts over a four-month period, Gov. Romney declined participation. He is the first and only candidate in our 16-year history to decide not to answer the questions young Americans chose as most important through the Presidential Youth Debate."

The organizers of the debate said they still hoped Romney would respond before Election Day, noting the importance of Millennials as a voting bloc.

The Presidential Youth Debate describes itself as a nonpartisan youth civic-engagement program and allows 10-35 year olds to submit questions to the presidential candidates.

In 2008, Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) both responded to 14 questions, which ranged from the financial crisis to abortion rights.