NORFOLK - It's Saturday morning in Norfolk and much of the Mitt Romney Virginia campaign team has just learned it will not be business and usual. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is now part of the ticket.
Today has to be a good day for Romney. It will include a 15-vehicle motorcade across much of the state that will tote Romney, Ryan and their families. Also tagging along are the necessarily strict and impatient Secret Service personnel, dozens of media and several top Virginia politicians and their aides.
The second stop is in central Virginia and the small city of Ashland. The motorcade pulls up to "Homemades by Suzanne," a bakery where Romney orders several pies and shakes many hands. He does not take questions from the media, but House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-7th District) does. He's one of the surrogates traveling with Romney.
When asked if Ryan's budget plan and proposals for Medicare will be a challenge for the Romney campaign, Cantor flips the script and accuses the Obama administration of cutting Medicare and says Ryan wants to save it.
After the interview, Romney's tight schedule kicks in. The Secret Service and staff order reporters to run back to the motorcade to get to the next stop. It's a mile away at Randolph-Macon College, where a large crowd of more than a thousand wait in the gym to be the second group to witness Romney and Ryan together. The duo is well-received. Even an overflow crowd on the outside gets a quick greeting from the pair.
On the way to the last stop in Manassas, the challenge for Virginia State Police to keep traffic out of the way of the motorcade on I-95 grows. Vehicles are prevented from entering onto the interstate as the motorcade passes. Drivers who somehow find their way into the motorcade are tailgated by police cruisers and corraled into other lanes.
A crowd of about 5,000 wait at Manassas' Harris Pavilion. Speeches from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Republican Senate candidate George Allen warm up the crowd before the new V-P choice is introduced. Ryan sticks to the same one-liners that have been revving up the crowds all day.
"Guess what. November 6, we take our country back!!!" and the supporters roar.
One lady from Leesburg says she likes Ryan because he can add and subtract and will cut the deficit.
The first Ryan-Romney signs are handed out and the campaign is calling this big announcement day a success. The motorcade rolls on to the airport to do it all over again.