April 1st, 2012
03:59 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney gets punk'd, April Fools style

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (CNN) - Two days before Wisconsin's pivotal primary, Mitt Romney was feeling good.

He'd recently predicted a win in the state, and – while Romney waited backstage to speak to a Milwaukee audience Sunday morning at a pancake brunch – Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the state's leading Republican officials, was enthusiastically introducing him onstage.

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Then Romney walked out to greet the audience – and faced a completely empty room.

"You know, it's April Fools Day. I forgot," Romney said later, standing in front of the real audience of Wisconsin voters who had been waiting upstairs. "They turned me into the April Fool this morning."

Romney explained how his staff and his two Republican backers – Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin – had pulled off the prank.

"My staff says to me, 'there's a small, it's a small, we didn't get much of a turnout this morning, it's really, it's really small but it'll be OK, it'll be OK,'" Romney recounted. "And so I hear Paul Ryan goes out there, gives the same introduction - what he just said. He's down there – 'and so now let's welcome Ron Johnson and Mitt Romney, the next president of the United States.'"

A press aide said the advance team – who cooked up the trick on Saturday night – played canned applause so the governor would not suspect the trick.

"So the two of us go out there and I go out there and it's completely empty. There's nobody there," Romney told the audience, while his smirking staffers laughed along. "It's like, oh boy, this is going to look really bad on the evening news, let me tell you."

Romney is famous among his family for pulling pranks and responded with good nature to the trick. But for his staff, this may not be the end of the matter.

"You guys, this is known as forgive but remember," Romney said.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • Ron Johnson • Wisconsin
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. DEcember 2012

    Actually, it was not a joke. It just happened to be April 1st. They were preparing him for the real world.

    April 1, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    It’s merely another corny, staged moment of publicity.

    Mitt’s campaign is floundering because he is perceived as insincere, severely so.

    April 1, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Dead-On-Arrival-Candidate

    Anyone that criticizes Obama for needing space to focus on domestic issues in an election year, is not just an April fool, but an everyday fool.

    April 1, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. TheMagusNYC

    get used to it Mitt. (-&

    April 1, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Get used to it. Probably as much support as you'll get in November.

    April 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Anyone as dumb as Mittens doesn't deserve to get anywhere near the White House.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Following is Mittens' plan for our country; basically, what he did to companies while working at Bain Capital (and it ain't no April Fools joke):

    1. Hostile takeover (steal the election; he's already proven he's willing to do that with his buying of votes in Maine).

    2. Suck out the assets (lower taxes on the wealthy; eliminate capital gains taxes).

    3. Reduce operating expenses to finance the debt (lower taxes means lower revenues means higher deficit; eliminate social spending, cut education, let infrastructure continue to crumble and decay, lay off public employees).

    4. Take his "fees" for his "expert management services" (see #2 above: he and his millionaire/billionaire cronies would benefit the most from the reduced/eliminated taxes).

    5. Leave the company to go bankrupt (our nation would permanently fall into third-world status, with virtually no Middle Class and an uneducated, sprawling poverty class, desperate to work for 50 cents/day, totally dependent on the charity of those few charitable organizations the right deem "worthy" of their donations).

    6. Move on to the next target company (invest in emerging nations such as China and India, where labor is cheap and regulations are minimal; make further millions and billions, lining their own pockets and chalking up their killing of America to the "free market correcting itself").

    April 1, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. abbydelabbey

    I remember a nursery rhyme about kittens losing their mittens.... how about Mittens going "missing" for a while ... from the media, from the political race ... I've had more than enough of him and his inanity....

    April 1, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Think again – Don't forget, after Mittens destroys America, he will blame President Obama.

    April 1, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. beezers

    I love how liberals take any article they can to add comments about how good Obama is and how horrible any GOP candidate is.

    I'd take Romney over Obama in any election. Obama's a joke... and I sure hope he isn't re-elected so he can then be more "flexible" with our constitution. Good luck, Governor Romney.

    April 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    He should have told the story about how this reminds him of an empty plant after laying off all the workers and how great a feeling that gives him-we love it when he ad libs to humanize himself.

    April 1, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. The truth shall set you free!

    Oh every one suck it up. For someone you do not consider worthwhile you sure are riding him pretty hard. Mitt Romney for President!! Get used to it now or you will be very unhappy for the next 8 years!

    April 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. The truth shall set you free!

    Mitt Romney for President!!! Everyone should get off his tail. Prepare to be unhappy for the next 8 years OR get with the program.

    April 1, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. jack

    CNN tries to punk'd us all every day with their propaganda, like Danny the Syrian

    April 1, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    gypsy – Thanks, still laughing. I can see it now, when Mittens gets to Pennsylvania, he will tell the amusing story about the empty room in WI reminded him of the empty factories he created, and the workers who had no jobs.

    April 1, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Mayflower

    You know what" I was hesitant about Romney, but all you uneducated haters are making me research him more. So go ahead, keep up your biased vitriol and watch while no one sticks around to listen. Spew your verbal diarrhea while the rest of us read from varied sources and make an informed decision in the voting booth.

    Also, Wire Palladin...I think Obama is doing that pretty well all on his own, and from what I have read on Romney, he is the one guy on the campaign trail that takes responsibility for his actions. Even if I don't choose to vote for him, that's rare and something to respect.

    April 1, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. utahn

    What! Are you telling me that Mitt wasn't watching 182nd LDS conference?

    April 1, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Bimbolet

    Its really funny. What a great prank. Made my day. Now time to go back to my English tea at my wonderful home in the Hamptons. I will see if I can get my 3 dollar an hour maid to serve me and her 7 year old kid to run some errands for free. Thats the great republican way. Back to the good old American Ways!
    Amen Hallelujah Kumbaya All in one.

    April 1, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. JS

    Romney should convince Ron Paul to be his VP- Then, he'd beat the Kenyan

    April 1, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. a frustrated voter

    Its funny to read to all these blogs go after everything the gop says but when obama says something on open mic all its just politics i smell double standard... some people just dont think b4 they talk

    April 1, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. D

    Looking at all these posts...seems its all democrats....U guys won't be cracking jokes if he wins.... I won't be voting for Obama again....any probably lots of independent voters feel the same.. Too bad your guy went all left....bye bye

    April 1, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Just Say No to Flipper

    Left out of the story:

    Mitt Rmoney, having been plagued by low enthusiasm and turnout at his campaign events, at first looked upset and was overheard commenting sharply to a nearby staffer "Again?" after seeing the empty room.

    April 1, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. lili

    Ol mitt gets punked every day of the week. Listening to the VP this morning on tv made me wonder who the GOP will find to run? People make fun of Biden but he knows his stuff and has a son serving in the military and is very much in touch with the average American. He has money but is not rich like mitt. Obama has not got the money that mitt has either. There is something very odd about mitt . He is very unlikeable and what he says does not ring true.The term snakeoil sales man comes to mind. Obama /Biden 2012

    April 1, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Valentina

    You, Obama supporters, are just plain nasty ... there are no better words to describe you, and I am sorry for the lack of better words.

    April 1, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    I can't stand the pretentious liar and flip-flopper.

    April 1, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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