Mitt Romney’s long slow march toward picking a vice president has been a carefully-planned marvel of technical political execution, leaving operatives in both political camps impressed at the candidate’s use of the process to divert from bad news, to rally supporters, draw local press coverage in key states — and, of course, raise money.

Many Romney’s aides remained in the dark about the vice presidential selection during the day Friday, but fell silent Friday evening when the campaign announced, in an 11:08 p.m. email, that the announcement would come in this Virginia port city Saturday…

“This is the last cord that we have to yank you guys with,” joked one Romney aide.