The joke was on Mitt Romney at a pancake breakfast in Milwaukee, two days before the crucial Wisconsin primary.
"You know, it’s April Fools Day, I forgot. They turned me into the April Fool this morning," Romney joked to the crowd.
Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, both newly announced Romney backers, teamed up with Romney staffers to give the storied prankster a taste of his own medicine. They staged a faux event and introduced Romney into an empty room - as Romney subsequently recalled to the actual crowd at the actual campaign event.
"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," a jovial Romney explained.
Romney recounted how Ryan gave the exact introductory speech as he did at the actual event and when he boomed, "And now the next President of the United States, Mitt Romney!" the former governor wasn't received by the fanfare he was expecting.
"And so the two of us go out there and I go out there and it’s completely empty," Romney said, drawing big laughs from the crowd.
The staff caught the whole trick on camera and said they will be posting it on YouTube. A visibly relieved Romney can be seen telling the pranksters: "You guys are really bad."
The presidential hopeful was in good spirits as he worked the room of about 200 supporters after he delivered his stump speech. He has been campaigning heavily in Wisconsin since Friday with Rep. Ryan by his side, and today added the endorsement of Sen. Johnson.
Yesterday, an ever-confident Romney predicted a win in Wisconsin's primary, but at his second campaign stop today at fast food joint, Culver's, in Johnson's Creek, Romney joked to reporters that the trick did give him a little scare.
"I go out there – like six people, a bunch of round tables and I – it did not immediately dawn on me that this was a prank. It’s like – I went out there, it’s like ‘oh my goodness, this is really a problem," he laughed.
Click here for prank video: