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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Seriously? Could he not find a more polarizing individual? Who's advising this guy?!?!
When you're trying to sell a stale crust of bread you liven it up with another stale crust of bread? Worst baloney sandwich ever.
It seems 'Rupe the Duper' Murdoch is not only Romney's main media promoter but steering his campaign as well. Now that the English have shed his corrupt practice of influence for endorsements I guess he'll try it over here.
A GOP candidate who does not want to come clean about his tax-history and a Congress man who sits in a "obstruction"-house that has a 16% (or is it less?) approval rate ready to rip the 98% off! Good luck GOP! You will need all the money there is…
These guys are wildly smart, clean-cut, and financially savvy. America could use some of this! Romney/Ryan is a powerful ticket! So excited about this.
I can hardly wait for the debates.
Paul ryan is a wise choice. I hope they can turn the economy into the bright side and again united states become the richest country and also the world leader
Gee.....another white guy....nothing new here....move along people.
Well, that seals the re-election of Obama. Good thing!!!
So why would he pick the man who vows to dismantle Medicare for millions of senior citizens?.....Obama just won the election. This is going to go over like a lead balloon.......only the 10% of radical right will favor this. But he drifts even further from the middle now.
Is it really necessary for CNN to shine spotlights on Ryan's home in the middle of the night? Can't you let his family sleep?
Pick this guy...it will confuse voters into thinking he's Ron Paul...LOL
Gotta respect Mitt's "integrity" in this game – he's apparently chosen a running mate who will do nothing but enthrall those people already voting for him as opposed to some Hail Mary game-changer who might increase his diminishing chances of winning in November.
I think it's a good pick. He seems smart. Not bad looking either but don't know if this will impact the election.
Well there you have it folks, Mutt & Jeff. I'll be abstaining this yr. The ones that's in now can go back to where he came from and these two, well get ready for a the Rich to get Richer and the poor poorer.
Excellent!! This makes Obama's re-election that much easier. Top bill wants to deny health care and continue his war on the middle and lower class and women and so does the #2!! BRILLIANT!
Paul Ryan is the harbinger of fate....the Republican's valkyrie. Its time for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, far right wing-nuts, and the GOP establishment to each reap what he/her has sown in each and every field. The winds of fate now blow across this land that truly used to be the land of the free and home of the brave of my Native American ancestors.
this is a joke! haha Paul Ryan? Who is the architect of the most extreme budget proposal in US History? lmao..
So he is going to be the second GOP consecutive GOP candidate to add a young, fresh-faced ideologue as his running mate? Worked great for McCain!
Not going to help him. He just picked another clone of himself. Creepy.
paul ryan? the guy who wants to end social security? and this is how romney lost flordia in a landslide
Romney needs to fix economy and Paul Ryan is a good choice for it.
Well, the race is over.....it looks like it will be President Romney and Vice President Ryan! Time to take our country back and get it in fiscal order. Thank goodness sanity will return to the White House!
Romney made a mistake in picking Ryan. He may get his base support from some tea party members but will lose support of the old people on medicare. Which is 40% of the voters. Whether it's a good choice or bad is based on perspective of an individual. Specially it makes no sense picking some one who supports tax cuts for millionaires but cutting the budget on the backs of seniors by turning the medicare in to a voucher based privatize system. Romney just sealed his failure. GOP has lost it's way. They do not represent a average American instead only the rich and the big corporations.
OH, BOY, this should be good! Seniors unite–we have nothing to loose except our Social Security and our Medicare.