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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Really. Now for sure Romney will lose if Ryan is his pick. If I had any doubts before, I don't now. Of all the choices he had – some of which would have likely ensured his election (not because people really wanted him, but would have wanted his VP pick – Condi Rice as one example) – he's supposedly going to go and pick Mr. Wall Street Bailout Supporter? What a classic GOP contender. So our choices this fall will be Dumb and Dumber. These politicians simply don't get it, and don't seem to interested in getting it. Business as usual.
Really. Now for sure Romney will lose if Ryan is his pick. If I had any doubts before, I don't now. Of all the choices he had – some of which would have likely ensured his election (not because people really wanted him, but would have wanted his VP pick – Condeleeza Rice as one example) – he's supposedly going to go and pick Mr. Wall Street Bailout Supporter? What a classic GOP contender. So our choices this fall will be D u m b and D u m b e r. These politicians simply don't get it, and don't seem to interested in getting it. Business as usual.
God help us all if these guys win.
sounds like a plot to get rid of Paul Ryan by Republican leadership. He's a male version of Sarah Palin and look what happened to McCain!!
We will be watching Olympics while Mitt Romney trying to make a splash VP pick. Sorry Mitt the flipper, you always do things wrong. Your recent foriegn trip was a flop. You are hidding your tax returnes because you are scared that people would see how you cheated our system to find huge tax breaks.
American people can not trust you. You are like a Chamileon who is hidding in various colors changing them to deceive others when it is right for you. Instead of trying to ruin this country for another 4 years, may be you should go and become a bigger millionair by creating jobs in China and hidding your money in swiss banks.
If it is Ryan, then the Republicans have lost before ever having a convention.
Condolessa Rice would have been a good pick. She would have brought the minorities over to Rommley's side. Too bad.
Its all downhill now for the obama regime. The obama regime will lose 40 states in november.
Mitt Romney is a fake. He is a Mormon and a liar. He is a Republican.....need more be said.....snake oil salesman.....or just salesman.....
Just read an online German newspaper and their headline is 'Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin VP running mate for Romney' It is only Friday here...but Saturday in Germany...
Well, you have now officially lost the election. Way to go Mitt Romney. Way...to...go.
VP candidates do not win elections. But will be good attack dogs, so will be Ryan.
Wow Romney is insane!!
I see the "Putting Jobs First" signs- Would that be the jobs in China, India , or Mexico? WE KNOW they aren't talking about American jobs. These are the guys who yelled "Jobs" in 2010 and didn't introduce one piece of meaningful job legislation since they took office. The American people won;t be anymore fooled than they were with the "Country First" rhetoric of 2008.
Romney just committed political suicide...he picked the guy who wants to kill Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Perfect Democratic scenario.
TWO heartless white, elite "tax the poor guys"...def NOT a game changer for the GOP...and a GIFT for us Dems! Bring on the debates....fun!
Paul Ryan, the guy who wants to dismantle Medicare and Social Security. I'm sure that'll go over really well with the elderly voters.
Ryan? He can't be serious.Why not Joseph Georbells or Adolf himself?Seniors are going to love a guy as V.P. who wants to gut their social security and medicare.Is this whole Republican attempt a science fiction story?It'really unbelievable!What a cast of sorry charachters.Where's the Mad Hatter?Actually Mitt fits the part perfectly.
Wow, Mitt doubles down on his economic war against the middle and lower classes.
Sarah Palin would be the perfect VP running mate for Romney.
She can't answer basic questions and he's got two answers for every question.
Sweet. Time for the traditional 6-10 point poll increase... just in time for the GOP convention for another 10pt poll increase. say bye-bye barry. good riddence
I wonder now that Ryan will be named VP, how hard will the DCCC fight for house and senate seats via the Ryan budget?
Perfect. Now Romney will be inescapably tied to Ryan's budget mess, and this will be the end of his candidacy. Bravo!
Barack Obama 2012!