Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is quietly laying the groundwork for a high-profile blitz of several key battleground states in the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and Republicans briefed on the plans say it has all the trappings of a vice presidential rollout tour.
On the heels of his rocky trip overseas, Romney will spend the coming days maintaining the kind of schedule he has kept for much of the summer, with appearances and fundraisers in medium-sized cities in various swing states. Romney will visit Colorado, Nevada and Indiana this week, and make stops in Ohio next week.
But beginning August 10th, Romney will ramp up his campaign operation with a splashy four-day bus tour targeting the largest media markets in several of the states that will decide the November election, CNN has learned.
And in a show of force and party unity, Romney will be joined at each stop by prominent Republican officials and campaign surrogates.
Some details are still murky, and Republicans cautioned that they are subject to change, but on August 11th, Romney will hit three of Virginia's biggest population hubs - the Washington, D.C. metro area, Richmond and Norfolk - before heading down to North Carolina the following day.
On Aug. 13, the Monday after the Olympic Summer Games finish in London, Romney will arrive in Florida for campaign stops in Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami.
Romney aides are also scouting multiple campaign venues in Ohio for later that week, knowledgeable Republican sources told CNN. Other states may also be added to the itinerary that week.
"Sounds like V.P. week," said one Republican familiar with the schedule, who did not want to be identified revealing the campaign's plans. "Hitting the big markets in the big states. It just makes sense."
A Romney campaign official confirmed that a bus tour is being organized before convention week, but said the theme of the tour would be Romney's vision for the economy.
Revealing the vice presidential pick in the week prior to the convention would be a logical choice for the Romney campaign, which would be able to generate maximum media attention in the late summer lull between the conclusion of the Olympics and the convention.