If you're going to pull an April Fools' Day stunt on the GOP presidential frontrunner, you might want to stay clear of something that reminds us of something that's actually haunted the campaign.
In this case, Mitt Romney's campaign team took the former Massachusetts governor to a room he thought was packed with supporters gathered for a pancake brunch. It was supposed to be his first campaign stop Sunday as he courted Wisconsin voters ahead of Tuesday's primary.
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan introduced Romney as he waited backstage. There was some cheering, but his staff told Romney not to expect a big crowd.
When he walked out, the room was completely empty. His supporters were actually gathered in another room upstairs.
Romney was a good sport and went along with the gag in good humor.
But behind his pained smile and laughter, he must've been thinking about all those embarrassing moments in the campaign where the crowds were thin or appeared thin, and not as a prank.
The first image that comes to mind, of course, was Romney's address to the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field on Feb. 24, 2012.
The football stadium seats about 80,000 people, but Romney had about 1,000 people in the crowd, making the event look like a total flop:
Mitt Romney spoke to about 1,000 people at Detroit's Ford Field, dwarfed by the stadium that normally seats 80,000 people. Ed Schultz speaks with auto worker Stacie Steward and Detroit radio host Tony Trupiano about Romney's speech.
Before that, Romney was crowd-challenged during the Florida GOP primary campaign.
While Newt Gingrich was losing, he was drawing crowds of 1,500 to 5,000. On the other hand, Romney, the eventual winner, was lucky to draw a couple hundred people.
Romney has also had a tough time matching crowds for all-but-forgotten GOP candidate Ron Paul. The Internet features some videos comparing crowd sizes of the two candidates, and it's not pretty for Romney:
Maybe the crowds are sparse because Romney's people are filtering anybody who looks risky. Look at what happened last summer during his "corporations are people, my friend" speech to voters in Des Moines at the Iowa State Fair:
Or maybe it was his singing that has thinned the crowds: