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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What is in Romney's 2009 Tax Return that he is afraid to show us?
Did he pay any US Federal Income Taxes in 2009?
What is in Romney's 2008 Tax Return that he is afraid to show us?
Did he pay any US Federal Income Taxes in 2008?
What is in Romney's 2007 Tax Return that he is afraid to show us?
Did he pay any US Federal Income Taxes in 2007?
What is in Romney's 2006 Tax Return that he is afraid to show us?
Did he pay any US Federal Income Taxes in 2006?
What is in Romney's 2005 Tax Return that he is afraid to show us?
Did he pay any US Federal Income Taxes in 2005? or in 2004? or in 2003? or in 2002? or in 2001?
Has Romney paid any US Federal Income Taxes,...
cmon mittens if it was good enough for mccain
its got to be good enough for a nice mormon gentleman like yourself
pick sara please pick sara
Great! TWO LOSERS!
Wow, another bunch of losers; is this the best the GOP can offer a Nation such as the US? Ofcourse, in a nation full of morons, the votes will be there for them!!! What a shame this nation has come to in this century!
Getting all the deck chairs in place. Have a nice trip!
Choosing a white man is a huge mistake for a political party that is seen as racist. Very bad move for the GOP . This just reinforces that image. Should have been Rice or Rubio.
Well he HAS to , articles said that he got letters from Wall Street telling him to. Good news because Ryan is as much of a dope as Romney. They won't get the seniors vote after what he wanted to do to Medicare. They deserve each other.
This is going to be classic.
Leave it to the Republicans to "double-down" on Romneyhood:
Steal from the poor, give to the rich. They really ARE that clueless....
Well – anytime soon there Mitt – do you have to get this approved through the temple or what?
Well, it looks like all Romney's done by picking Ryan is galvanize the lefties, who hate Ryan.
Why didn't he tap Rubio or Christie? Doesn't he follow the polls? They are much more popular among Independents. I'm not following Romney's campaign strategies. I think he needs to do what Rove suggest... and clean house.
Fantastic news, that guarantees Obama another 4 long years !
Laurel and Hardy together again.
I don't guess it really matters. Obama is so far ahead that the outcome is obvious.
Very bad choice. He should have picked Rubio.
So Mitt Romney is the Robot trying to be Human. And now he picks a Wooden Puppet that wants to be a Real Boy? This is getting more silly by the moment. When will we get a serious candidate to run on the Republican side? Hmm? Maybe after the convention they will pull a name out of a hat.
Ah, yes. The nail in the coffin of his campaign.
This may pull in some of the tea party, but without Romney releasing his tax returns for the past 10 or so years, I don't see him gaining ground. If Sarah Palin beat out Romney for McCain's VP nod in 2008, then there must be more to his tax returns that we're not seeing.
Paul Ryan's slogan as Vice President could be: "Say Goodbye to your Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security People!!!", and "Here's Your Nice Big Fat Tax Cut Mr. Trump!!!"
he is like the anti Biden, smart, measured, accomplished and doesn't run off at the mouth and say insane things
I think I would say NO to Mitt, ask me again in 4 years when you have a real candidate.
Ryan...the potential ax man for Medicaid and Social Security?
Do the words "political suicide" mean anything to you Mitt?
Please do turn towards the Tea Party as your base. Won't miss you in January.By the way...pay your taxes like a good American.
I think this was a good choice for VP (assuming it actually is Paul Ryan). Romney needed a more energetic candidate to help him in poll numbers. Personally I think this is a good political strategy that may actually turn Wisconsin to red. Even though Obama is leading 6% there, I think it could make Wisconsin lean Romney or be a true swing state. Rob Portman would have been a horrible choice because he is not very well known and has ties to Bush. Pawlenty is just plain boring and would just set the standard of a boring VP, not to mention that Minnesota would have never turned red anyways if he was picked. All the other VP candidates offered really no value at all. Marco Rubio I think would've been a disaster in choosing because even though he's a senator from Florida and is Hispanic, he is too inexperienced in federal government to be taken seriously for such a high office at the moment. I applaud Mitt Romney and his campaign staff for choosing Paul Ryan as VP. The Democrats will now start ushering out attacks at Paul Ryan's "Disassembling of Medicare/Medicade" reform bill. However, I think those claims are a bit too radical to do serious harm. I'm just glad Romney picked an energetic, younger guy to be his VP. This was by far a better choice than John McCain's VP pick in 08'. This race has just flipped the table right-side up. I personally think this election is going to be extremely close, maybe even 2000 kind of close. Thanks for hearing my opinion.