Romney a 'closet prankster,' aide says

A top aide to Mitt Romney pushed back against the perception that the former Massachusetts governor is stiff, saying on Saturday that Romney is a "closet prankster."

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said that when Romney was governor, one of the state troopers on his security detail short-sheeted Romney's hotel room bed as a prank, and Romney not only took it in stride but got a small bit of revenge.

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"That in itself, by the way, should tell you something about Gov. Romney — that a state trooper who is assigned to protect him would be emboldened enough to short-sheet his bed," Fehrnstrom said.

To "turn the tables" on the state trooper, Romney composed a letter as if it had been written by the hotel manager and addressed it to himself as governor.

The letter apologized for the bad housekeeping and the short-sheeting of the bed and said that the hotel maid responsible had been fired.

"The governor showed that to the trooper that had short-sheeted the bed and of course his face went white. He was aghast that something like that had happened," Fehrnstrom said.

He recounted the story on Saturday during a panel discussion hosted by The Washington Post.

The Post's Dan Balz asked Fehrnstrom why the public doesn't see that side of Romney on the campaign trail. 

“Well, we’ll send him over to your house — he’ll short-sheet your bed if that makes you feel better,” Fehrnstrom answered.

Peter Flaherty, another top adviser on the campaign, agreed, saying Romney has "a great sense of humor." 

"He’s very self-deprecating. He’s probably the most self-deprecating person in our campaign organization,” Flaherty said.

But the Romney aides criticized President Obama for appearing on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" this week to "slow jam the news."

“There’s something a little bit off-key about the president slow-jammin’ or appearing to make light of the fact that students are struggling,” Fehrnstrom said. “I don’t think that’s something to slow jam about or make light of.”

Fehrnstrom said that when Romney has appeared on late night television shows he has focused on poking fun at himself.