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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Ryan, Rubio, Rice or Portman, the media frenzy and hypothesizing has been worth it. Why do the headlines "Dewey Wins" come to mind when I read that this person or that one is "the one"? There are lots of good people to choose from, and I am sure that Mr. Romney and his advisers are making a list and checking it twice, but in the mean time, the media steams on.
One For All, and All For Me
The Book of Lies, Greed and Collusion
…. Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. At bookstores December 2012
With the architect of the elimination of medicare he can kiss Florida goodby.
I just hope he picks someone who has the best record of achievement...hopefully Obama won't make up too many lies about the VP candidate, too!
If this is Romnets pick,forget about it.Mr Romney is going nowhere, very fast.
Now I know there is more news available to broadcast than the fact that the typical Republican picked some one that looks and acts like the very ones that started this financial mess. What is new about the one percent trying to remain in control of this country by hand picking cronies to do their bidding .
that's all I needed to hear folks...Ryan is a real deal killer for this independent voter...Obama is getting my vote !
This changes nothing for Republicans. They were going to vote for the non-Obama candidate, Romney or ANYONE else. Like "Romney-Ryan" or not...the Republicans will show up to vote. All this does is strengthen the left's determination, which means (hopefully) that they will also show up at the polls. Voter suppression may be the only hope the right has!
Romney to GOP leadership:
"Ryan wants to gut Medicare and aid for the poor while increasing our military budget by $8 billion dollars??
I think we've found our guy."
Two white males?!? unelectable
Please tell my democratic loved ones that Romney Ryan Team aren't out to destroy Unions! Why does this debate have to be about Unions' v/s Non Union jobs, and growth? When are Republican and Democrats going to work together? Can't it be about intelligence?
Until Romney reveals the secret hidden in his tax returns, nothing else matters. If he won't say what is in his tax filings, we will assume the worst. What else would we think? What legitimate reason could he possible have for hiding his tax returns?
Oh please pick Ryan!!!
If this turns out to be the case, Romney will have just firmed up his base, motivated the opposition, and pushed away the 5 or 6% of independents that he desperately needs to keep this race close. Ryan will put the nail in the coffin.
WI. Replace him with a Democrat. Rob
"The White Boys" here we go again. Same old, same old. Back to slave and master. Romney is one of the LAST people we need as president. Give me a Bloomberg, a Cuomo a Condoleeza, a Colin Powell. This is sickening already.
So these are the new faces that would like to build an industrial dictatorship here in the US. Codename: NAtional Zentral Industries?
I will have a say to that, folks. NO WAY!!!!
...after which the four horsemen of the apocalypse will be signing autographs at the same event and delivering donation to Obama. The horsemen said they like the threat of the apocalyse, but not the apocalypse itself. They said if mutt wins, the apocalypse would spontaneously occur and that they'd be out of a job...
I knew and said here months ago the Bishop Williard would not pick a woman running mate. His religious views would not allow it......And they kick this off in VA and not WS his home state.
Paul Ryan, you know. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Now do you know? I think Guy Smiley from Muppet Land would have been a better choice . . .
It does not matter who Romney chooses, Obama is going to win. Why? Because his campaign is based on giving people more and more benefits and programs all payed for by heavily taxing the 1%. The masses are drawn by their self interest to the candidate who promises to increase benefits for them and increase taxes on others. With this platform Obama cannot lose.
I like this bold choice but not to sure if Romney and team can survive the withering attack this will bring. Romney hasnt defended very well this week............Reid's lies, Showing no emotion when accused of being a muderer. Lets hope, for the sake of the country, the Romney has learned to go on the offensive and defend his great principales.
No matter who Mitt Romney picks, they will convince the waves of republican voters to be "thrilled" with the choice.
Remember Sarah Palin? All those thrilled republican voters now laugh.
Remember Michelle Bauchman? All those thrilled republican voters now laugh.
Remember Rick Perry? All those thrilled republican voters now laugh.
Now it's Paul Ryans turn..... time for you republcians to laugh instead of acting thrilled for a month or two before the poop hits the fan.
Will the mitten share his Etch-a-sketch with him?