April 1st, 2012
03:59 PM ET
11 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. Pete

    Romney after his November defeat,he'll face the same empty room.His egotistical mannerisms are seen as his total disregard for the middle class.Elevated lifts for his new house,with zoning changes ala greasing some zoning commissioners palms..Talks of cannablising Medicare,cutting back on Medicaid,just so he and his other maniacal buddy Ryan can say they helped the 1%ers at the local country club.What about the 99%ers,who are they, o ya,the hired help sorry no go,maybe next time hoss...The 99%ers are gonna answer the call in November and send these rightwing idiots packing,all of them,back to their think tanks till maybe 2016.But what then,maybe Hillary,ya never know boys.And maybe,just maybe we'll throw in new Supreme Court justices,they're getting pretty old ya know,4 at last count with POTUS Obama as pres,they might be all Democrates,nice touch.Like ta see the Repub teabaggers faces,Rove,Armey if that happened,just think about it,let it sink in....

    April 1, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. mm

    Not voting for the man....but I do enjoy a prank like that!

    April 1, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. utah

    was the joke when they introduced him as the next president?

    April 1, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. lloyd roberts

    Ho, ho, ho. Just a bunch a back slappin', educated privileged white guys, clowning around. All American I'd say, ho, ho, ho. Gonna talk about all us other people and plan how they are going to run our lives. At least they got the best health coverage and pension plans in town. Wouldn't want any of those solid Americans worrying like the rest of us. Ho, ho, ho. Now let's toast to good cheer and mittens being a good sport, ole' boy. Ho, ho, ho, cheery-oh

    April 1, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Bobby Ray

    Ron Johnson has been punking Wisconsin since he took office. Holding up numerous votes in the Senate until he gets his way with an extremist Tea Party Budget. He is a big part of the PARTY OF NO.

    April 1, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. chucky

    That's great but not as good as the prank these twits want to pull on us. They love this country and they want to help working people–HAHAHA funny!!

    April 1, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Indy

    "They turned me into the April Fool this morning."Romney said

    Same thing will happen in May,June,July,August,Sept,Oct and Nov. The Profit Romney will face Obama and the 99% club and will go down in history as a two time loser

    April 1, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Rein

    President Romney is going to get rid of all the liberal waste, like Medicaid, EPA, Planned Parenthood, Head Start, Pell Grants, etc. Then there can be bigger subsidies for oil companies, and we can start a war with Iran and end abortion, contraception, FDIC and Social Security. The NAACP will be exposed as a branch of al Qaeda, and people will stop being minorities. Romney will fire whomever he likes.

    April 1, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Wendilynn

    Romney will get them back. He enjoys this sort thing, he can laugh at himself and I"m sure he enjoyed it which is why he shared it with everyone.

    I'm amazed at these comments, you people have fallen for all the crap said about Romney that flatly isn't true. He's not a corporate raider, he's not irresponsible. This man is so responsible that he was brought in to save the Olympics and waived his million dollar fee to do it. 77% of the companies he was brought in to fix are still in business IN the united states, no offense but that is an impressive record of achievement. He didn't get paid to be Governor of Mass and he left them with a surplus rainy day fund (which the governor after him spent). It just boggles my mind that you guys still buy all the made up stuff said on the campaign trial to make you guys prejudiced against Romney. Looking at his record shows a guy who works hard, makes NO excuses for himself and gets the job done. He's the ONLY one we have running who doesn't whine about crap and that includes the current President.

    April 1, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    I like it! It sounds like a very good April Fool's Day trick. It was original, it was easy to fix, and Mitt fell for it. Good practical jokes are not as easy as you might think.

    April 1, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Robyn

    Just to show what a good sport he is,
    Mr. Mittens gave his entire 2 1/2 stump
    speech to the empty room.

    Handler's enthusiastically said it was the
    most positive response he has received
    in the last 293 weeks of campaigning.

    April 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. sithlord1

    Anybody is better than Obama. I'm independant and i'm voting for Romney. Obama is the worst president we have had in a long time. Not a big Bush fan but obama is worse.

    April 1, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Bryan

    MItt is a funny guy! The real fools though are all the folks voting for Obama. Just look how he treats the American people when he talks to the President of Russia!

    April 1, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. B

    What Bush started, Romney the Robot would finish. He and his wealthy buddies on Wall Street would complete the job of destroying the economy and the country in the process.

    Wake up America before it is too late.

    April 1, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Texan

    He still reminds me of a nervous used car salesman.

    April 1, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Pedro

    Romney went on to say, "This reminds me of the time my father closed down a factory. We threw a going away party for everyone he laid off. But guess what? No one showed up. Good times."

    April 1, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. 1twinsfan

    You wanna hear a really good one have Mitt tell you about the time they took the dog Seamus on a trip to Canada.

    April 1, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. J Mann

    "Next President of the United States" – now, that's an April Fools' joke we can do without.

    April 1, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. Grinning Libber

    He's just practicing for November.

    April 1, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. If the truth be known

    An empty suit stands before an empty room.... seems somehow fitting.

    April 1, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Tommy

    All you making comments like this are empty between the ears. If this had happened to you dear leader you would have been rolling in the aisles with laughter.

    April 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. The King

    All human carbon based life forms, now hear this:
    That mitt romney is a down to earth, every day man, with a wonderful sense of humor!! He's a warm and affable, easy going guy! He is the guy you want to have a beer with because he's just like you.
    That is all.

    April 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. downtoearth

    Awesome prank! He stayed cool and had fun with it, just as a great leader should. As an average American, I can relate to that. Romney 2012!!

    April 1, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Give it up everyone, Romney has a great sense of humor. Why everyone on here has to be so negative is disappointing.

    April 1, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. CBR

    Canned applause? They said it was a small audience but when he heard all the canned applause he just thought it was a full house, Oh well, how often do they use that canned applause? Many times the press does not capture a picture of the audience. They know the size of the crowd but do not publish it. There is more than a little collusion there.

    April 1, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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