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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
this should be interesting
The word on the street is it is indeed Ryan (we found out over a week ago). I live in Janesville and have an aunt which knows the Ryan family very well. Janesville WI is a very small farming community, good gossip travels very fast, lol.
Romney will pick Paul Ryan – because when Mitt stands next to Ryan – he looks almost human
RYAN?! Now we know you're not serious about winning the election!
Who ever he pick will not make a difference becuse obama campaign has already defined romney
It will be of no great surprise..
Notice, they have him blocking the word jobs in the background sign. Oh and "they" have him in a ostrich-like crane pose. LOL. I don't know what it all means though, could it be the camera crew leader is a democrat, DK?
As a raging liberal, all I can say is please let it be Paul Ryan.
One of our local TV stations here in Austin TX just announced Rep. Paul Ryan as presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney`s pick. If that`s true, Romney just caved in to the Wall Street Journal`s suggestion. Wow!
Both of these men are tools of the corporate right wing oligarchy aristocracy. If they win America loses
So let me get this straight. The Republicans want a VP that has been in Washington living off the Government for over 20 of his 42 year life... And Ryan wants to cut Government help for the poor even though he lives in a mansion payed for by our tax dollars...You've got to be kidding....Come on Tea partiers this guy voted for all the programs like tarp , Pharma part D and every other program that go us in this mess and you pick him?... WOW
Both of these men are serve the corporate oligarchy aristocracy. If they win America loses
Romney to announce running mate Sat... no no .. wait.. does that say 'putting jobs first' ?? Bwhahahahahaha.... gasp... hahahahaha... no no.. I mean.. Bahahahahahaha.... oh hell .. forget it... it's just too funny. Carry on... LOL
Mittens You have My Vote : )
Romney sucks so bad the Conservatives have forced him to release his VP choice early. They need the distraction. Dems just stay focused on Romney and his 2002 – 2008 financial dealings. Romney’s VP pick will not matter so much it’s like any snake cut off the head and the tail soon dies..
They did not have the decency t wait until after the Olympics. And he said let there be light and there was!!!
Once again his selfish arrogance runneth over.
Romney selected Ryan in large part for his fiscal savvy, the latter being the architect of the GOP's master budget plan. So let's take a look at their shared economic philosophy:
Fiscal conservatives such as Romney and Ryan are primarily interested in two outcomes:
1) Increasing the income divide between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of society
2) Increasing profit margins for corporations via lowered taxes and minimized environmental and workplace regulations
Reducing unemployment is a secondary issue - if said corporations opt to use their increased profits to hire additional employees, that's their prerogative.
Alas, historical evidence overwhelming demonstrates that increased corporate profits do not translate into increased hiring - increased demand for goods and services does.
And, of course, increased demand requires increased purchasing power by that subset of society which does the majority of the purchasing, i.e., the middle class.
And yet the budget plan championed by Romney and Ryan is designed to shift the federal tax burden further away from the ultra-wealthy toward the middle class. Go figure.
Furthermore, virtually every nonpartisan economist has confirmed that the Romney/Ryan budget plan contains impossible to attain, mutually-exclusive goals - cutting taxes on corporations and upper class Americans while simultaneously reducing the federal deficit. Must be the new math!
In addition, Ryan and his fellow health insurance lobby lackeys in the Republican Party have taken a "General MacArthur" approach to destroying our nation's Medicare system. His plan will not make it immediately die - he simply wants it to slowly fade away.
… and with it the ability of future senior citizens to obtain affordable chronic condition treatment and preventative health care.
Once again, the tea party tail wags the GOP dog ... and the middle class gets stuck with cleaning up the lawn.
If it's ryan, then it's to make the rich conservatives so happy that they donate lots and lots and lots of money to the campaign.
His pick will only exict his base becuse romney dont know what romney want . The right wing tell romney what to do
Senator Paul Ryan is the veep pick. Great! I'm sure his taxes are in order, but what about Romney?
My neighbors name is Paul Ryan, but his 89 years old. Who's Paul Ryan?
My bet is if Romney doesn't pick Mr. Burns, he's sure to go with Count Dracula.
The Best Government Money can Buy?