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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Fantastic pick! Goodbye Obama.
Romney is drowning in the polls of public opinion and he is in desperate need of a lifeline. The whole VP annoucement this soon was orchestrated for just that purpose. But, instead of help keeping Romney afloat by changing the conversation away from his tax evasion issues, a VP pick like Paul Ryan and his crusade to end Medicare as we know it will be an anchor around Romney's neck.
Hey CNN. How many Tax returns did Ryan have to submit for the vetting process. Make sure to include all years released during is 14 years in congress.
Tea Party's not gonna like this, Ryan is the guy trying to modify social security and medicare...wait, I think he's saying not till something like 2021 or something, the current TP members talk like they could care less about their children and grandchildren's future. The only people, other than the GOP',who don't feel his plan would end up costing us trillions and leave the most vulnerable, again, with no protection...are, surprise, neo-conservative economists.. He's not a bad guy, he's just another who would like to see cuts for the wealthiest and to end capital gains and other taxes for....wait for it....THE MOST WEALTHY. Of course, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, etal, will somehow convince many (self-afflicted ignorant) of the false, misleading and ridiculous are facts.
why not Portman? Now ryan will have to resign his house seat, they won't win wisconsin anyways and he brings NOTHING to the table.,
Democrats hit him hard. And they kept hitting. Romney plummeting in polls; especially with Independents. Forced him to pick a right-wing nut. Well-played Dems, well-played. The V.P. choice does not matter. Look at Biden.
Ahahahahahahahahaha. He's kidding, right?
Kiss the election goodbye! Obama wins. Rubio would have been a much better choice. It's McCain 2008 all over again. I'm voting Obama just to send these brain-dead GOP idiots a message. That's right. It sometimes takes a plunge to rock bottom until someone wakes up, and I'll make damn sure my vote sends the GOP to rock bottom. OBAMA, as much as I can't stand you, YOU HAVE MY VOTE! The conservative movement has been vanquished by the establishment Republicans. Don't blame the liberals this time! The light bulb should have been very obvious in the 2010 midterms!
I will not play these games anymore. We have earned another four years of the most incompetent President ever, and I'll cast my vote for him! I am so angry at the once mighty Republican Party!
Pfffff......Honestly who cares!
It's great that he has nominated himself, but reality is I hope Ron Paul gets nominated at the National Convention just so I can laugh at Romney. Romney is such a tool! lol
Oh I can't wait I'm so happy!!!!!!! NOT!!!!! Ain't nothing surprising bout that just two white men on the republican ticket that the norm and just to think I was nervous thinking Romney was going to choose the Sen. Porterman of Ohio he speak spanish, or Sen. Robio of Florida, Allen West of Florida, the female governor of New Mexico, this is angry. If I was a republican I would be so angry but anyways Mr. Romney will have the tea party to back him now. The republican party is lame as hell I'm going to sleep at least I can rest now. :-(
Ryan is selected for VP? A big joke! he supports wealthy people. I am sure we will find out the problems that he has in past and now and coming in November.
That will be a great pick. Obama and the old blow hard Biden are going down...I sure hope so because I can't endure four more.
@Romney sneaks out VP name at 1:45 am EST, w/ editors gone home & newsdesks closing shop? Not trumpeting this midday, midweek? Weak!
I hope the American people realize that this team is what we need to pick us back up from the MESS Obama put us in....
Does anyone really care anymore?
I bet he will take a father role. (gross)
It really says a lot that the GOP would rip this country off to the degree that they have already, then come back to take more.
Two intelligent and honorable men that will lead our nation back to prosperity. No more buying people's vote with handouts. Romney/Ryan 2012!
Wow. Romney just handed over the election. Ryan is so far to the right that Romney can no longer begin to hope to capture the moderates necessary for him to win. Once again, the Tea Party has shown the influence they have. Unfortunately for the Republicans, that influence has won the election for the Democrats.
Do you really care anybody?.....Hello? Anybody care? Anybody? Is anybody there?
Excellent choice. With this decision Romney has guaranteed Obama another term.
Be very afraid if you are an older person. Paul Ryan's budget proposal as it relates to your Medicare is as scary as it gets.
Paul Ryan is a good choice for VP. He will give a boost to Romney's campaign and possibly silence Obama and his attacks at least over the weekend. I am sure they are already cooking up some new ones to attack Ryan.
Rubio might have brought Florida and Hispanic voters like me who are concerned over many immigrant policies. Ryan? Choosing an extreme Tea Party candidate can only hurt.
Paul Ryan is a good choice for VP. Now we have to take cover from an anticipated barrage of attack ads about Ryan coming from Obama and his ilk.