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NORFOLK, VA -- Mitt Romney this morning chortled in front of a startled crowd as he announced that, using a complicated network of front organizations, he has over the past half-year been secretly buying up shares on Internet betting sites such as InTrade that would pay off if Paul Ryan was selected as the Republican nominee for Vice-President.

"My plan has paid off big," he laughed, jabbing his fingers at the audience.  "I've just made $170 billion off of those bets!  That's a lot of money even for me!  Ha-ha!"

Romney explained that he had realized eight years ago that betting on the Vice-Presidential nominee was a perfect opportunity for someone with the resources and the will to manipulate the betting market prior to making a selection over which he had sole authority.

"You don't find opportunities like this every day," he said, rubbing his palms together rapidly.  "This was my sole choice, so all I had to do was to find a pick so improbable that I could corner the market on shares selecting him.  Even Ann and the boys thought that I was going to pick Pawlenty!"

Since it became clear that he would in fact become the Republican Presidential nominee, Romney has apparently been secretly amassing every available share in the Internet market choice of Ryan for VP.  To avoid tipping off the market, bets on Ryan have been placed in the name of shell organizations with names announcing that their members were apparently out-of-the-loop, such as the "Glenn Beck Freedom-Loving Fans of Freedom," the "No. 1 Ladies Against Women Detective Agency," the "California Republican Party," and the "Friends of Charles Krauthammer."

The sheer improbability of a Ryan pick worked to his great advantage, Romney explained.  "When he presented the budget plan axing Medicare, I was able to pick up shares of RYAN-GOP-VP-2012 for pennies!  It was like taking candy from infants -- but with fewer germs!"

Romney took pains to explain that Ryan himself was not in on the plan.  Ryan himself seemed to take the news that his selection was merely the fruition of one of the greatest scams ever played on the domestic and foreign markets in stride.

"I'm just happy to have played any role in boosting the fortunres of Governor Rom--" -- at this point Romney grabbed Ryan's shoulder and whispered in Ryan's ear -- "in boosting the fortunes of Olympic Chairman Romney.  I can appreciate his desire to make money off of the deal and I'm not about the criticize him.  In retrospect, I can see that this was a truly astounding opportunity for him and I appreciate having been its instrument."

Romney admitted that as late as January he was still considering whether to discreetly buy up shares of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal instead, but explained that he found the appearance and sound of Jindal unnerving and unbecoming.  "After all, I'm going to be linked to this person in history, having to campaign with him, all that.  I really don't want someone who would put me off my feed.  And Ryan was perfectly improbable enough -- yet just the right height!"

"So to all the people who have wondered why I've so badly wanted the Republican Presidential nomination for the past six years -- this is why!  $170 billion!  Why, this has gone even better than I could have imagined!  You people truly are suckers!"

Romney told the crowd that, so far as he was concerned, he had now accomplished all he had wanted to do this year with his campaign.  "Now the rest is gravy.  I may win, I may lose -- but either way, now I have $170 billion!  And all I had to do was say that guy's name!"

Romney confirmed to reporters that for tax-avoidance purposes most of the money would be deposited in offshore accounts established under the names of his various front organizations, with the balance going into his IRA.

Before leaving the stage, Romney went up to an already visibly stunned Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and slapped him hard across the face.

"TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUNDS???", he bellowed at the shocked Governor.  "You were supposed to be my clever dodge near the end to drive Ryan VP stock down to $.03/share before I bought up the last of it!  You were supposed to be plausible!  But no -- you had to come up with TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUNDS.  How could I get people to buy into that ploy after TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUNDS???  I could have cleared $200 billion if you'd just kept your mouth shut!  You disgust me."

Having solved the final mystery of the day, as to why the announcement took place in Virginia, Romney then left the event in a gold-plated limousine, flipping the keys to the campaign bus out the window to Ryan and telling him to spend the rest of the day campaigning and inform him between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. as to how things had gone.  Romney told Ryan that one of his sons would accompany Ryan on the bus, but he couldn't remember which one.  An ecstatic Ryan began what would be a two-hour speech for reporters on how new technology made it possible for even disabled senior citizens to be marched in a circle, turning large wheels and generating electricity that would help make American energy-independent.

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