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. JerseyGirl

    April Fool? Fools are those who still support you, and don't know that you are a serial liar, and will never ever get into the White House!

    April 1, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  2. bankrupt America quick!!!

    Let's get Obama Biden in 2012 so we can drive up the debt by $6 billion and have a $2 trillion deficit every year....great idea

    April 1, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. okcthunder

    It's funny how people with college degrees and masters od doctorate degrees vote for Romney at a high rate, but the uneducated don't vote for him. Smart people know Romney is the best option and the uneducated think it is someone else. We want a president who is successful, JD/MBA from Harvard, millions made through business investments, Romney is successful and should be the next POTUS. Look at the facts and the policies and you will see Romney is the best option.

    April 1, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Jean Sartre - Milwaukee, WI

    Well, he had better get use to this empty feeling... that's what he will be experiencing on November 6, 2012... he can share it all with little Paulie Ryan...

    April 1, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  5. Mark L.

    Willard is a fool 365 days a year. He doesn't need to wait until April 1 for the proof.

    April 1, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. jb1963

    it will be the same way in November

    April 1, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  7. gate

    This is almost as funny as the time he tied the dog to the roof when they drove across county and the dog was so scared it defecated on the windows. True story bro. Google it.

    April 1, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. roro

    Hopefully, you'll be a November fool as well.

    April 1, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. Dan

    100% – this was an attempt to make Mitt seem more human. Look, he might be able to take a joke!

    April 1, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. enuff

    The joke was on the audience. They thought they were going to get a free concert.

    April 1, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. Yerp

    Get used to it, Mittens.

    April 2, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  12. BinMes

    Trying to make him a regular guy. It did not work for me.

    April 2, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. M

    Would you rather have santorum as your president? If you would then Americans are even dumber than the rest of the world already thinks

    April 2, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. K3Citizen

    He has no idea that he is a fool no matter what day it is.

    April 2, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  15. buckup

    Recall Walker is no April fools joke.

    That fool should be asking Romney for a job as a corporate buyout specialist.

    April 2, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  16. 66Biker

    Yeah, you Wisconsin guys better remember... IF by some stroke of mass stupidity Twit Romney does manage to win the election (it's happened before, and in recent memory too) you guys better hide. Because just like Dubya made Dan Quayle look like an amateur, Romney will make Dubya look like a Mensa Genius. And then you'll get yours.

    April 2, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  17. JavierOberti

    what a bunch of liberal haters commenting about this...seriously, you don't even realize how pathetic you have become.

    April 2, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  18. Auggiedoggie

    Sounds like life imitating art to me....

    April 2, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  19. Shelby

    Too funny....a great prank on our future president!

    April 2, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  20. Evan from Hawaii

    very funny , I like to see our candidates live a little too. Don't know why people are so sarcastic and cynical towards politicians. Most of them are good people trying to make a differance. People need to get off these comment boards and volunteer in their community if they think they can do better. talk is cheap.

    April 2, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |

    Mitt McCain has managed to make the GOBP wingnut voter turnout look like that empty room, but the delusional wingnuts think that he has a chance to win in Nov.

    April 2, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  22. Scott

    Wow. He went from 0 supporters to 30 supporters. Ron Paul's last rally in Wisconsin drew 5,200 supporters. Romney's support is a media invention.

    April 2, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  23. fernace

    Romney IS an April Fools joke & that empty room is just a prelude of things to come! He'll be greeted w/an empty room come November, as well! Obama/Biden Next 4!!

    April 2, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  24. Reddog9500

    Yuk, yuk, yuk. Those Romney guys are too funny! But they won't be laughing when Obama kicks their butts come November.

    April 2, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  25. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Americans will be April Fools if this clueless foreign & domestic lightweight punk is voted into the high office!!!!

    April 2, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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