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Romney's a bit of a prankster, advisers relate

WASHINGTON -- Pressed to reveal the lighter side of Mitt Romney, his advisers on Saturday recalled the time when, as Massachusetts governor, he had a laugh over a prank involving the purported firing of a chambermaid.

Romney was traveling around the state with his protective detail when one of the troops short-sheeted his hotel room bed, recalled senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. Romney then composed a letter, addressed to the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts and alleged to have been written by hotel management, "apologizing for the bad housekeeping and the short-sheeting of his bed."

The letter "informed him that we had taken action to fire the chambermaid," Fehrnstrom said. "And he showed that to the trooper that had short-sheeted the bed, and of course his face went white."

Fehrnstrom and another Romney adviser, Peter Flaherty, spoke at a Washington Post Live event Saturday.

Fehrnstrom brought up the short-sheeting memory when describing how Romney is a huge prankster.

"The biggest misperception is that he's stiff," Flaherty said. "He's got a great sense of humor. He's very self-deprecating. He's probably the most self-deprecating person in our campaign organization."

But "this election is not going to be about who's cooler," Flaherty said. "The question's going to be: Who do you trust to run the economy?"

The advisers made it clear that Romney doesn't see humor everywhere. While the Republican front-runner has appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and has read the top-10 list on the Late Show With David Letterman, the advisers wouldn't commit to him appearing on Saturday Night Live.

The advisers drew laughs, however, when they said that Romney would very likely go to London for the Summer Olympics and that his favorite sport is women's volleyball.