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.
Why do so many of you people have to take a feel-good moment and ruin it? Misery loves company, that's for sure. He's dumb? He's far smarter than any of you.
God bless Mitt Romney. He will punk Obama in November and all you whiny liberals will complain to CNN that he stole the election.
Given the low turnout at many Rmoney events, how long did it take him to realize it was a prank and not just another day on the campaign trail?
I'm surprised he didn't fire them...he likes to have that ability.
I'm not a Romney fan, but this joke, and his good natured reaction to it, are good for his campaign. Makes him seem a little less stiff.
When you've made up your mind to be a happy guy,you know you need to be a strong one first.
If Mitt ("Let Detroit go bankrupt") Romney wins, we are all punk'd. Not just on April Fools Day.
That Zany Romney and his kooky staff....more fun than a barrel of the right sized monkeys. I bet the guys in the board room snickered over this one...
I hear he liked to pull pratical jokes at Bain Capital, by telling all the employees at a recently acquired company "you all have jobs here".
OMG this guy is so lame. It sounds like the prank was staged just so he can have something to talk about. This guy should stay out politics and stand up comedy as well.
In reality Romney is going to be punked in Nov. when he is defeated to Obama for Shipping jobs to China, stashing money in Cayman Islands, for saying "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt", for saying "Corporations are also people, my friend", For Bain-Capital, For letting people watch on youtube, type, when mitt romney came to town, etc, etc, etc, for Big Oil supporting...etc,
"Forgive but remember..."
The only reason these guys still have jobs is that Romney remembered how that would look in light of his admitted affinity for firing people.