Elections

Romney to announce VP choice Saturday morning in Virginia

Paul Conner Executive Editor

The USS Wisconsin will be the backdrop when Republican candidate Mitt Romney announces his running mate Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.

Update, 1:09 a.m.: The Associated Press confirms with a Republican official that Romney will name Paul Ryan as his running mate.

The campaign announced the news late Friday evening just after the Weekly Standard reported that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House budget committee, is the likely pick for Romney, who will accept the GOP nomination at the Republican National Convention the last week of August.

The event in Virginia, a swing state that President Barack Obama carried in 2008, is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Nauticus Museum. Romney — joined by his vice presidential pick — is scheduled to start a four-day swing-state bus tour.

Romney has three events, including the Norfolk event, on his Saturday schedule. He plans to stop by a small business in Ashland, Va., before leading a 1 p.m. rally there. Then it’s on to Manassas, Va., for a 4 p.m. rally.

Romney is scheduled to hold three events Sunday in North Carolina.

Ryan has reportedly been on vacation in Colorado this week. The Weekly Standard reported that key figures, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, have been asked to be prepared to tout the potential Ryan pick this weekend, but the magazine reported that nothing is certain about who will be chosen.

“The Romney team could be engaging in some last minute misdirection, as other campaigns have done,” the magazine reported.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also considered to be on Romney’s shortlist for a running mate, is scheduled to go door-to-door Saturday morning in New Hampshire, seemingly eliminating him from the list of possibilities.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has also been widely mentioned as a potential VP pick, although Romney has played his cards close to his chest, consistently saying that he and his senior adviser Beth Myers are the ones involved in making the decision.

Choosing Ryan would be seen as a bold choice for Romney. Ryan’s budget plan, which has been approved by the House of Representatives each of the last two years, is one of only a handful of serious proposals that deals with the skyrocketing costs of entitlement programs Medicare and Social Security.

His budget has also made him a punching bag of Democrats both in Congress in the White House, and although Democrats will criticize the Republican VP nominee no matter who that person is, Ryan would likely give opponents a bigger target.

It would also unite Republican efforts in Washington by rallying them behind the Ryan plan, and would likely excite GOP voters who are looking to draw a sharp contrast with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

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