By Geneva Sands - 04/02/12 12:07 PM EDT
On the campaign trail Sunday, Mitt Romney found out the hard way that even presidential candidates aren't exempt from April Fools' Day pranks.
The front-runner for the GOP nomination was in Milwaukee ahead of the state's primary Tuesday, where he expected to address a crowd assembled for a pancake breakfast.
"Ron Johnson and Gov. Mitt Romney, the next president of the United States," said Ryan.
But to Romney's surprise, when he turned the corner to greet the audience, the room was empty, prompting laughter and the all-too-familiar "April Fools'!" punchline.
Romney, often accused of having a stiff onstage presence, seemed to show his sense of humor and take the whole prank in stride.
"This really is a small crowd — oh, jeez, you guys are really bad," said Romney.
Romney's advance team thought up the idea and with the help of his on-site aides, as well as Johnson and Ryan, executed the prank by setting up a room downstairs identical to that of the actual pancake breakfast, only this room didn't have any supporters, according to media reports.
When Romney eventually reached his intended event, he told the audience, "this is known as 'Forgive, but remember,' " reported The New York Times.
"I’ll tell you. We’re gonna remember this. Look, I appreciate you being here. Thank heavens we’ve got some people in the room this morning. I appreciate it!”