Pranks a Lot, Dad: Matt Romney Calls on the Governator

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh, aren't those Romney boys wacky! In the latest family gag, Mitt Romney was punk'd by his son with a prank call from "Arnold Schwarzenegger."

On Friday, 36-year-old Matt Romney posted a video on the campaign's "Five Brothers" blog filmed the day before Michigan's primary -- a do-or-die win for his dad. "You gotta imagine right now he's feeling a little stressed," Matt tells the camera. "Let's help him relax a little bit. Maybe he thinks he's going to get an endorsement."

Cut to Romney père, eating lunch when a staffer tells him California's governor is on the line. The two exchange greetings, then Romney asks what he can do for his GOP colleague.

"First, I would just like to get to know you," says Schwarzenegger.

"Well, we've had the chance to . . ." stammers Romney.

Schwarzenegger interrupts: "I want to ask you a bunch of questions and I want to have them answered immediately."

Of course, fans of the Governator recognize the lines from his movies and speeches; his distinctive sound bites, collected on several Web sites, are a favorite of prankster callers. So Matt, in his San Diego office, just clicked his mouse and "Arnold's" voice came out as Matt held the phone receiver close to the computer speakers. A videographer at campaign headquarters in Michigan caught it all, while another shot the perp son as he made the call. The candidate finally caught on and hung up when asked (from "Kindergarten Cop"): "Who's your daddy and what does he do?"

Matt told us yesterday that his dad took the gag pretty well: "He dishes out plenty, so he has to be able to take it. He's notorious for pulling wedding pranks." (Covering a honeymoon car in feathers with dead fish under the floor mats, writing "Help Me" in nail polish on a groom's soles -- seen only when he knelt at the altar.)

This wasn't the brothers' first practical joke on the trail: Last summer, Josh Romney short-sheeted his parent's bed and blogged about it. Mom Ann loved that and "laughed absolutely hysterically" about the prank call, said Matt, who's girding for payback. "I know there's going to be some retribution. It was worth it."

This Just In . . .

Now this one we'd been worried about: A British tabloid yesterday posted a lengthy video of Amy Winehouse smoking what looks like a crack pipe at her London home. The Sun claims the grainy footage also shows the train-wreck chanteuse taking other substances; she's heard saying that she's had about six Valium. Her rep declined to comment; her record label offered its support.

Ted Leonsis just missed out on an Oscar nod -- his acclaimed "The Rape of Nanking" made the documentary shortlist though not the final cut. But, hey, there's always next year: "Kicking It," the second doc produced by the Caps owner, just debuted at Sundance and was bought by ESPN for TV broadcast and digital distribution; the network will also cooperate in trying to get it into theaters soon.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

Bono venturing outside the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton for a morning walk yesterday without his sunglasses. True, kinda overcast, but Bono without shades? Wore a hat, though. Was here for his usual round of meetings with high-ranking Hill leaders to nudge them for more global AIDS funding; also this time, a powwow with Defense Secretary Robert Gates . (Wonder if the secretary has caught "U2 3D?" It's reviewed on Page C5.)

End Quote

"I hear people say you can't choose between children, but hey, people got their favorite children. Don't lie. Everybody got their favorite."

-- Gilbert Arenas , father of two, while making some kind of point in his online diary about how he can't pick his favorite Denzel Washington movie role. Good thing Alijah and Izela are too young to read Daddy's blog!

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