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'm glad he picked Ryan. His political career will end faster. I have been a life long republican until this year. I can no longer pretend that the Republican Party has any substance. Until the Ron Paul people gain considerable influence within the party, I will be voting third party.
At least we will have two people who believe in making a budget! The 6 trillion Obama has wasted are pushing the whole country over a cliff.
Romneys taxes never killed anyone.
Obama's Fast and Furious operation has killed hundreds yet the White House will not release the records. What are you hiding Mr. President?
Great!!! Now Willard is certain to lose. The end Medicare Twins. Remember when Newt said "right wing radical ideology is no different than left wing radical ideology?" I can't wait for the debates. Now back to our regular scheduled program: RELEASE YOUR TAXES!!!
It doesn't matter. My dog is smarter than Biden.
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney brag they want to steal your retirement money and Obama is a worthless failure. Time for a 3rd choice.
When will people learn that when you vote dem or rep your basicly voting for the same people but ones red and ones blue. America needs to toss all the politicians out and start fresh.
did he pay taxes in some other country?
Yikes. So much for a "reasonable ticket" on the Republican side.
I wonder how many years of returns Romney will ask Ryan to release?
Oh no...say it isn't so.
Well, not wonder Romney isn't concerned about the poor or elderly. He is counting on Ryan to take care of all that...just not in a good way. Yeah, that will fix that pesky old safety net, won't' it?
Paul Ryan if you are really serious in balancing the budget, tell the tax cheat Romney to pay his income tax for ten years. Well I know you will not do that because you were picked as his running mate.
How many votes can be counted on to believe one human being can shut down the plant of a huge corporation and how many people believe this same man can cause cancer in a person? That is how dense, well, I won't go there.
Democrats say yaaaaay!
this should change the subject off of his taxes and retirement from bain.
Great pick. Forces Obama to reconsider his running mate and it gives Romney the overwhelming edge in his seriousness about getting the economy back on track.
Hopefully Paul Ryan can take him somewhere, since there seems to be no ways out for Mitt. I think there is a better of throwing those Latinos under the bus, by not giving M Rubio.
Hopefully Paul Ryan can take him somewhere, since there seems to be no ways out for Mitt. I think there is a better way of throwing those Latinos under the bus, by not giving M Rubio.
Go Mitt!!! Let's get some good down to Earth policies going and stop this pushing the buck down the road political garbage we are in right now.
The note said Rand Paul not Paul Ryan. Stop the announcement, this isn't the guy.
Wait, it doesn't matter. I am so dumb.
Thank God he's doi g something to revive his moribund campaign. But the nuns aren't going to like this.