MILWAUKEE (CAP) - Convinced that injecting some levity will help his bumpy GOP presidential primary bid, front-runner Mitt Romney has dubbed his remaining campaign stops to be a Capitalism Comedy Tour, and promises to show through the use of "funny, humor-like statements" the value his business background would bring to the White House.
His new strategy started off with a bang last week, when he told a "humorous anecdote" about the time his father closed a Michigan factory, laying off all the workers, and moved it to Wisconsin. "And if you think that's bad, when I got my hands on it I moved it to China! Hoo-hah!" added Romney."Just kidding, just kidding," he said. "I didn't move it to China. I leeched all the money out of it, liquidated it and flipped it for a profit!"
"Er ... Is this thing on?" he added.
Romney's new strategy drew immediate fire from his GOP rivals, particularly former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who declared that "everybody knows" he's the funny one. "Just ask my first two wives!" he said. "Boo-ya!"
Asked if that means he was joking about his planned moon colony, Gingrich responded that he was actually dead serious about that.
As for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, he called Romney "the least funny Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."
Confronted later by reporters about the statement, he insisted that he'd been taken out of context, swore at them, and, taking a page from 2008 presidential contender John McCain, slaughtered them in a bloody, violent rage.
As for Ron Paul, he responded to news of Romney's comedy plan by telling a joke: "Hey, whatever happened to me?" he asked, and then broke down in tears.
Romney, meanwhile, continues to hone his material on the road. "So a corporation walks into a bar," he told a crowd in Racine yesterday. "Bartender says, we don't serve your kind in here. Corporation says, hey, corporations are people too! Hey-yo!"
He followed that up with, "The doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn't pay his bill, and he had no insurance, so he died. Hey heidi ho!"
Later that day in Madison, he said, "So my gardener walks in my house the other day and says he's not making enough to feed his family. So I said, you're fired! I like being able to fire people. Hey bo diddley!"
The joke failed to get a laugh, although most in the crowd agreed the drummer playing rim shots was a nice touch.