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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Romney to announce running mate Saturday morning !
BREAKING: Romney to announce vice presidential pick Saturday.
BREAKING: Romney calls Republicans on VP shortlist
THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME , WHO WILL BE THE VP WITH VISION ?
We are about to have a window to Romney's soul. His vice presidential pick clearly will define him. Already, we know he is very insensitive to the poor, and should he pick Paul Ryan, who's equally insensitive to seniors, that will complete the missing narrative of a "totally disconnect team".
Romney will pick Ryan because the Wall Street Journal told him to.
Wow!!!!!!!! Exciting, tricky guy!!!!!!!!
Romney is going to the long pass to win..................Rep. Ryan...............mistake, he will lose in a landslide. Ryan is not qualified to be 2nd in line for the Presidency.
Paul Ryan? Wow, hardly inspired. Safe for the base. Sure to turn off the moderate independents. Let the games begin.
Paul Ryan: Graduating from Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville in 1988, Ryan was voted prom king and "Biggest Brown-Noser" by his fellow classmates. In college, he briefly worked for Oscar Mayer as a Wienermobile driver.
Sounds like he'll fit perfectly with Mittens.
Mitt Romney will announce his running mate at the beginning of a four-day, four-state bus tour in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday morning.....but will not tell the American people how much tax he paid on his income (except for the 2 years he has been running for the presidency)
Mitt are you this dumb.He will destroy Social Security,Rail Road Retirement and no one can collect until 72. Paul Ryan is not liked and you made another gaffe.
Well, this will be a big non-event. No one knows who it is.. and no one really cares.
i cant wait :-)
Well he is announcing this in Virginia. Is it OK to assume that it'll be Bob McDonnell?
Well, I for one am hoping for Paul Ryan. I think he is very conservative fiscally, but seems middle of the road on most issues. And, of course, he is a cheesehead like me. LOL
Oh joy, another kleptocrat mini millionaire?
And the tax returns will start trickling to the press Saturday afternoon – lol!
I'm surprised no one at CNN has the Romney VP app. It's Paul Ryan
I don't care who he chooses as a running mate. If he brought Abraham Lincoln, or George Washington back from the dead to take the spot, I still wouldn't vote for him. There's no way I'm voting for Obama either. Neither one of them is cut out for the presidency – and congress, Congress is a joke. They're all the same as far as I'm concerned. I may as well vote for my mother, or my uncle Jim, or heck, my sister's cat – It just doesn't matter.
Mitt pick up Vp Paul Ryna!!! Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America , Israel and world!!!
Looks like Ryan - who looks like Romney except Ryan is a real conservative who wishes to cut medicare (which has been a failure for seniors (smile) and a deficit hawk. Whoop-de-doo! No surprises and no imagination. At least, though, Romney has an attack dog who is willing to do the dirsty work. Uninspired to say the least.
Paul Ryan is the VP pick
If you want another war ... vote for Romney!
OMG-this is breaking news? Really? How about when the announcement is actually made? Now that will be worthy of breaking news. This is ridiculous. It's just more speculation and more fodder for CNN-s "Celebrity News Network".
Paul Ryan would be great as Romney's running mate. Extreme polarization makes the choice easy.
if Paul Ryan is indeed the choice, the GOP as a collective group, will have made the final decision to squander any chance to substantively challenge President Obama in any serious manner due to Ryan's ultra conservative policy positions in an era where political practicality trumps impractical idealism and cheap window dressing.