Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will announce his running mate at the beginning of a four-day, four-state bus tour in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, his campaign announced in a statement late Friday night.
Three Republican sources told CNN that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin would be Romney’s running mate pick. GOP sources also told CNN that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman have all been told that they won’t be getting the nod.
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Romney called several of the Republicans on his vice presidential shortlist on Friday evening to tell them he has selected a running mate and to thank them for assisting with his campaign, a Republican familiar with the calls told CNN. Romney did not indicate on the calls who he had selected as his running mate, according to the source.
Three Republicans close to the Romney campaign told CNN that key staffers have been told to prepare for the rollout on Saturday morning, when Romney tours the U.S.S. Wisconsin, a museum battleship at the National Maritime Center in Norfolk.
Communications staffers for the Romney campaign have been ordered to report to their Boston headquarters at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, an unusual directive for a weekend, a Republican familiar with the plans told CNN.
There were other signals that Romney-world was ramping up for a splashy weekend: Much of the Romney high command flew with the candidate from Boston to Norfolk on Friday afternoon, including Beth Myers, the adviser tasked with running the vice presidential search process, and Will Ritter, the campaign's director of advance who rarely leaves his spacious corner office in Boston's North End.
READ MORE: Romney's short list: Is Ryan ready to run?
Ann Romney, the candidate's wife, also landed in Norfolk after her trip to the Olympic Games in London.
The bus tour itself has also been driving vice presidential chatter since its itinerary was first revealed by CNN early last week.
The campaign swing will take Romney through major media markets in four battleground states – Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.
Romney will be joined at various stops by bold-faced names in Republican politics; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, one potential running mate, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Richmond native, were set to join Romney at stops in the commonwealth on Saturday.
The appearance of a private plane that had traveled from Boston to Janesville, Wisconsin – the home of Rep. Paul Ryan, a top contender for Romney's number two – added fuel to the Ryan rumor mill after the plane's itinerary was reported by The National Review just before 6 p.m. on the east coast.
The Ryan talk on Friday evening seemed to confirm late speculation that the prospects for the two supposed VP frontrunners, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, have faded in recent days.
The Friday buzz instead centered on Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is on vacation with his family and whose whereabouts are known only by a handful of advisers.
Rubio has long been dismissed as a serious contender by Beltway insiders thanks to his relative lack of experience, his controversial use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card and his friendship with scandal-tainted Rep. David Rivera.
But his stock has risen in recent weeks, knowledgeable Republicans said, especially with internal Romney polling showing the campaign with abysmal numbers among Hispanic voters in Florida.
The Romney camp has also come under considerable pressure from the conservative pundit class to pick a running mate more "bold" than Portman or Pawlenty.
The Friday evening rumor mill sent political reporters scrambling, with some even dialing Obama campaign strategists in Chicago in a desperate but fruitless search for more clues.
And yet many Republicans who spoke to CNN – all of them granted anonymity to speak freely without angering Romney officials in Boston - wondered why Romney would announce the pick on a weekend when millions of potential voters are likely to be distracted by the Olympics, PGA golf, late season baseball and the box office release of the latest Bourne thriller.
"This is probably just the Romney campaign jerking with the press," said one Republican operative close to one of Romney's potential running mates, referring to the private jet in Wisconsin.
Many rank-and-file Romney staffers contacted by CNN remained clueless about plans for VP rollout, but admitted that it would only take a late night phone call and a few hours to fly Romney's pick into Virginia from Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio or elsewhere early on Saturday morning.
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paul ryan is the running mate.
congrats paul ryan
I give it about 20 minutes after he announces his VP that Romney is once again scrambling like a chicken with his head cut off.
Romneys VP pick gotta be Paul Ryan
This will be interesting. At least he can't do worse than McCain did. (hopefully)
Ryans budget plan will be a big problem. No foreign policy experience.
Ryan or McDonnell will be the kiss of death for Willard. Please oh please pick one of those domestic terrorists.
. . . and the Loser is ?
Whoop Dee Doo!
Oh the suspense! How can Mitts expect us to wait until tomorrow? I don't know about you folks, but I wont sleep a wink tonight wondering who Mitts con,er selected for his running mate.
Whoever he picks is not going to help him. The more Romney speaks, the more supporters he loses. And that is a good thing.
I hope it's Sarah Palin... or Donald Trump. Either of those would be perfect. Unless Cheney is still available. Or Jenna Jameson. A lot of potential out there.
Dick Fuld (Lehman Brothers) or Bernie Maddoff would make excellent choice for Romney. They were both 'great' leaders too. And America got a NICELY WRAPPED PRESENT called a recession because of their GREAT LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE.
Good VP or NOT, please keep Romney away from the White House. He is a DISGRACE! Obama 2012.
It's Paul Ryan
Vice President Agnew (Under Nixon) resigned on October 10, 1973, after being indicted for bribery and federal income tax evasion. Is this the kind of headline we want to gamble with in the future? Should we take such a chance? What IF Edwards had become President? Can we really afford to take a candidate on faith when they are confronted with peculiar tax returns? Should it not be noted that this tradition started by his own father would be first broken by none other than his son? Especially in light of changing CEO dates in regards to public companies involved in SEC fraud during one of these fuzzy date regions? I think the questions are obvious to the untrained mind. But do we know what is at stake? If we continue with Romney, be sure he has a Presidential VP Candidate..... like Foghorn Leghorn says, "I say ah say I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency!".
Great....now we'll know who will lose along with Romney in November.
It'll be Ryan. I wonder what all the tea party righties on Medicare will think when ryan ends it! LOL!! You get what you vote for!
I hope it's Paul Ryan.
Want to announce a release of something mitt? Release those taxes!
It won't be Rubio, because he is too short and when standing next to Romney looks like his son...jus sayin..
Not that my opinion matters but WHO CARES who Romneys running mate is. Breaking news really? I mean is the world stopping to hear what the dummy pick for a running mate. The mans gonna ruin us for sure no matter what mate he picks
It's Ryan. What a joke. Romney can't get this right, after running for prez for EIGHT YEARS.
Stick a fork in him.
Paul Ryan...hmmm...let the responses begin...
I don't trust this man.