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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Mr, Romney is playing the GOP like he played the people that he did as ECO of all the other companys that he has worked, He'll walk out with millions and they'll close up shop.
It's ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Romney/Ryan are gonna drop a hammer on Barack's head. Paul Ryan is maybe the single most fiscally responsible politician in Washington. Just what we need!!!! Way to go, Mitt. Way. To. Go.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.......... So what! Obama and Beiden will make it all up and spit him out. Romney is a scared loser! Obama 2012!
"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'...or..said by a CNN reporter who really believes ridiculous conspiracy theories
Watch the youtube video of Ryan telling Obama and Biden why ObamaCare is a bad idea. If that doesn't give America hope for change, nothing will. Ryan is competent and middle class.
Yeah! Bring our country back to its former glory.
Excellent pick Romney!! Another corporate shill willing to say anything to promote the "free-marketness is next to Godliness" meme, assist in the destruction of social services, and slavishly bend to the the will of his big donors. Two peas in a pod, these ones. The really scary part is that they might win.
Is this choice the kiss of death?
Richie Rich and Ryan, 2012 : Our vision of screwing America!!
For sure I'm not voting for two outcasts who have no knowledge of the middle class. It's like voting for Richard Nixon again..
Hey, the GOP want to put their hands on your Medicare! Ryan wants to end Medicare and give you vouchers. HAHAHA G'bye Medicare.
Why would political reporters call Obama campaign HQ for info on Romney's VP pick? I can only recoil at the thought that they needed guidance on how to spin this!
Paul Ryan is the only person that could overshadow Romneys faults. He is young, appealing to conservatives, and may garner bipartisan support in some way... but this to me (liberal) seems like a desperate grab at straws... if republicans wanted a close race, or atleast an exciting one... you could have chosen Ron Paul. This choice would have taken America by surprise and revitalized your party. I guess it was too extreme.... but then who cares.... Obama is a better alternative to any of you.
A lifelong Republican, I'm voting for Obama and a straight Democratic ticket this year. Ryan's selection indicates Romney will do things like Michigan Republican governor Rick Snyder and the Republican legislature–run on no new taxes and deficit reduction platform get elected, then screw pensioners on fixed incomes with new taxes and give new breaks to business. They simply do not care about middle class and the poor. They believe in trickle down economics, but their rain is yellow....
Rather than going with a safe pick like Portman, Romeny is forced to go with the a Hail Mary just like McCain did in 2008 after bad poll numbers lately. You know about a Hail Mary, 9 out 10 times, they fail!
ok CNN time to vette Ryan and than proceed to destroy him, ready, set go!
The male version of Sarah Palin - hunting, fishing, knows nothing about foreign policy. Maybe he can see Russia from Wisconsin!!!!
Romney has chosen a right wing extremist to complete his chicken hawk candidacy.
Saturday Night Live is going to have a field day . . .
Oh, I hope he does pick Ryan. This would be like handing the election to Obama on a silver platter...
Hopefully, the voters of America will see the benefit in electing this duo and getting this country turned around.
Well, it's all over but the crying.
Romeny = Bain capital = ship jobs overseas, Paul Ryan = take away health care for people left without it after they have lost their job
Both are for having houses repossessed for the number one reason of foreclosure, financial complications from an illness when dad or mom gets sick and the bills run past the insurance limits.
Support health care for the rich! Support less taxes for the rich! Vote for the R & R railroad, the moneytrain for the rich!
VOTE Romney & Ryan... for Cheating & Lying