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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I bet if you flip that sign around ("PUTTING JOBS FIRST") it says "Made in China".
Paul Ryan read it on USA Today
Last I checked, the Republican convention has not yet taken place and Romney has not yet secured the nomination, yet he is picking a VP ??? Obama & Romney are opposite sides of the same bad coin, neither has a clue what most Americans lives are really like. Both will have us in another war within the year. There's still time to make this right by electing Ron Paul as our next president and restoring our great nation to the status we once had.
Please be Eddie Munster, I mean Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan already announced on USA Today
HA he may as well have picked Sarah Palin – Paul Ryan wants to take away my Social Security... yea that's going to fly like a lead brick. Not so smart after all are ya Mitt...
How many wars are we in now? How many more are they going to get us into? Stay the hell away from our kids, money, weapons, resources.
Well Mr. Mittens, you just lost a lot of older people. Both my grandmothers, who are around 80 now, rely heavily on Social Security and Medicare. Paul Ryan just put the icing on the cake. You just lost all of the old people bud! Hurray!
Ryan in means Mitt out
Good...now the real debate on the future of our country can begin. It's a slow sad drift into stagnation and decline, or bold choice to make difficult sacrifices to ensure future Americans have the opportunity to prosper. Let's make the hard decisions.
His eyes look like he has some health issue.
With Paul Ryan as the VP nominee, you can kiss your Medicare goodbye!
Paul Rynd it is.... Atlas Shrugged
He should pick Palin, since he is the male version of her.
They are the ones that are robbing this country blind. And sending it to the war profiteers. Banksters mostly. They aren't going to do anything about toxic crap in our food/water/medical supplies. revolving doors, regulatory capture. OUR GOVERNMENT FAILS BECAUSE OF THEM! no way! i'll move for sure. vote with our feet since they coorrupted the elections so bad that they aren't even elections anymore, they're auctions.
New campaign slogan...."The Voucher Express"..... GOOD GRIEF, do we need anymore proof that the GOP is tone deaf to the average everyday hard working American? Paul Ryan....is this an early April Fools Day prank?
An Objectivist, how quaint.
Trickle down doesn't work ding dongs. It's bottom up and you know it. Stop lying to people.
RIZZO, RIZZO, RIZZO!!! 1980 all over again! God bless America (given) and good bye Obama!!
Apparently, Romney think he is not conservative enough he has to pick Ryan. Great. you can be sure it is a political suicide. I have to vote for Obama now cause if team Romney/'Ryan wins this Nov election, you can rest assure there will be a Death Panel waiting for grandma.
have you any idea? biden may not be "popular" but he's not detested. and not insane, just funny crazy and easily used within The Onion. i'm independent, i voted gore, bush, obama. and even then i had to cut myself to vote gore because of that fascist joseph. you HAVE to consider the worst case scenario of what you now consider the best case scenario, and Mr.Ryan, he's too far right, too much crazy, and he will be great for the conservative base.
We need a REAL national health plan. We have crap for health care.
I looked up and saw the thing thought it said ron paul and got all excited for about 2 seconds