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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haha! Paul Ryan is younger and better looking than Obama, and Ryan could whoop him in a fight. Not necessarily what an intelligent voter looks for in a VP candidate, but with all the idiot tabloit-reading dolts in this country, Ryan is a great pick! But on a deadly serious note, let's get this clown Obama out of office and return basic freedom to the people of this country!
Paul Ryan is NOT a fiscal conservative (balanced budget by 2040... really?!?) and he wants to destroy Social Security.
This is awesome. Obama gets a second term!
Its as if he's trying to lose.
Wisconsin Republicans are outspoken enemies of labor unions. Another tactic of the wealthy to become even more wealthy on the backs of the struggling middle class.
This is going to be fun.....or funny.
The Kotch Brothers are now one step closer to taking over the U.S.
They are two ole cold hearted devil-dogs.
Paul Ryan? Evidently Romney has no real intention of being elected president.
Well Romney just showed the country who's he's behind. He doubled down on a plan of hurting the middle class and poor using the excuse of controlling the deficit just so he can give tax breaks to his fellow rich Americans and boost defense sending by picking Paul Ryan and his infamous budget that accomplishes those choices very neatly. Get ready to start associating Ryan's smirk with your grandmother's loss of full medical coverage under his plan and hope she doesn't end up like Joe Spotic's wife when she doesn't have the money to pay the difference between a voucher from the government and what some insurance company will want to cover her, and don't forget that it will include a nice tidy profit for the insurance company, a Republican objective; profit at the expense of the middle class and poor. Haven't the bankers stolen enough money from our economy? Now we need to go back to the Republican lies that tax breaks for the rich create jobs? The only thing tax breaks for the rich create is an IRA worth over $100 million, check that out with Romney, that's what his is worth.
Romney must be very proud...this announcement coming in the middle of the night or on a weekend indicates that he doesn't want this to be a big news topic until he has the weekend to see reactions. Now he has ostracized the elderly...that should be the final nail in his coffin. No matter how he tries to put the conversation back on the economy without him releasing his tax returns he will never get anywhere. The first question to Ryan, "Did you release your tax returns to be vetted as Vice President...then how many years and why?" This entire campaign is a comedy of errors and he just added another clown to the bus. Now the two of them can take a private jet from one location the other and magically come out of the bus.
Really, Mitt? REALLY?
"End Medicare" Ryan?
There goes Florida, and any chance at winning.
What is Mitt thinking? Anyone who likes this choice would already rather eat a glass shard and barbwire sammich than vote for Obama. Red Meat for the rightwing base – but a stinkbomb for independents and swing states.
Never even elected to a statewide office.
So Romney isn't interested in trying to get women, latinos, independents, or swing voters. He just wants to make the far right happy. Hope that goes well for you Mitt. Good luck with the 2014 Olympics.
Very nice choice.
Ryan is smart, articulate, and young. He stands for the values of Americans who still believe in American exceptionalism – not Obama socialism. He will help with the budget battles that lie ahead and I can’t wait for the first VP debate – Biden’s hair plugs will be falling out on the table in front of him as Ryan runs circles around all the Obama/leftist misinformation.
Far better choice than "foot in the mouth" on the other side.
If it's Ryan than that's would be the error that will cause Romney to lose the race. Ryab would be a heart beat away from being President. Can't see him taking over if something happens. Ryan is no JFK.
Okay..I'm logged in.
will have this and FOX as a daily (hourly these days)..too funny,,sites to monitor. I watch the shows, best I can, but usually hit timing good. I "in spite of giving you a rough time" look to you and your reports.
I really hope you will work with me here, besides, I haven't seen any 'experts' that have beaten me in over three years.
Get's kinda lonely...smiles. trust me, look for me or my add. to pop up in other places to comment. Your reports adds etc.. whom most I really like may get a note.
I want this election won and won big. We can make that happen...and if it does,,you'll see a world like you never seen before and it will seemingly begin instantly. We can't make it through another four years...it took all we had to make it this far...and we've nothing left, not here and not anywhere else on the globe. We have exhausted everything, and debt will undo. jim
If there was any doubt that a Romney Administration would be working primarily for the Rich this shatters it.
If there were any doubt that a Romney Administration would be working primarily for the benefit of the rich, this shatters it.
Prepare to loose Ryan... You are not going anywhere! The G.O.Pieces of cr@p are going to lose the next election as well... You can thank Bush for that :)
Please, can't we have one candidate on the ticiket to like?
Ok, turn out the lights. It's almost over...
Romney just finished himself off.. Paul Ryan will ensure the elderly will vote for Obama.. Paul Ryan was more than happy to accept Social Security after his father died, but he wants to make sure that no one else gets that opportunity.. We now have two delusional hypocrites thinking they can run this country into the ground.. Remember, Paul Ryan voted with Bush 93% of the time.. Go Obama.. Romney just gave you this election !
Choosing Ryan is another step towards alienating the American people. Seems as if Romney cannot get connected with humans
I preferred the fat guy from Jersey.