Two others who were high on Romney’s short list of VP contenders — former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — were informed in recent days that they would not be on the ticket, according to two Republican sources. Both were scheduled for other events on Saturday.
Among the early clues that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, was the likeliest pick was the venue chosen for the early morning announcement — the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. And overnight, the Web site www.RomneyRyan.com automatically began redirecting readers to the Romney campaign’s home page.
The selection of Ryan would add to the ticket the intellectual architect of the GOP’s approach to slashing deficits and signal a desire to place the nation’s looming fiscal challenges at the center of the campaign’s final months.
Ryan got a strong boost over the past few days from conservatives, with editorials pushing his candidacy in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard and the National Review.
Romney’s announcement will come at the start of a four-day bus trip through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, and at a time when the former Massachusetts governor has fallen behind President Obama in the polls.
Romney plans to announce his decision about 8:45 a.m., when he tours the USS Wisconsin, a decommissioned World War II-era Navy battleship named to honor the state.
Romney’s campaign advisers reached late Friday refused to discuss what has been a confidential process and noted that Romney had promised to reveal his decision to supporters via a campaign iPhone application.
With some conservatives fretting publicly that he has lost the summer, Romney is under pressure to alter the course of his campaign. He will have several chances to do so over the next three weeks. At the end of the month, Republicans will gather in Tampa for a four-day convention that will provide the former Massachusetts governor a chance to reintroduce himself to the country and reset the race on his terms.
Romney’s effort gets under way in Virginia, where he begins a four-day bus tour through swing states on Saturday with his wife, Ann.
If Romney announces Ryan as his running mate, he would offer voters the starkest possible choice on how to address issues of spending and taxing, embracing Ryan’s single-minded focus on reducing the nation’s debt without raising taxes by dramatically altering Americans’ relationship to their government.
It is a fight Democrats, too, have savored, believing the details of Ryan’s budget will convince voters that they offer a fairer path to reduced deficits through a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy.
Ryan would likely energize a GOP base that sought a campaign of forward-looking ideas and not just an endless critique of President Obama.