NORFOLK, Va. — The announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate came together in deep secret.

Almost a week ago, Ryan snuck through Chicago's O'Hare airport in a baseball cap and sunglasses and flew to New England. A Romney adviser's 19-year-old son picked up Ryan and drove him to a private meeting in his parents' dining room where the deal was sealed.

By Friday afternoon, Ryan was cutting through the Wisconsin woods behind his home to evade a reporter on the street out front, and heading to North Carolina.

By night, he was eating Applebee's takeout at a nondescript chain hotel in that state and preparing for his big debut speech. And on Saturday, it was official — he was Romney's No. 2.