With Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick now in the books (if you somehow escaped the news from the weekend, it's Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin), the presidential campaign shifts into a higher gear this week.
And much of the shifting's going to happen in the state where the campaign began — Iowa.
As The Associated Press headline reads, "In New Role, Ryan Faces Obama In Iowa":
"While Mitt Romney continues a Florida bus tour, Ryan will meet voters at the Iowa State Fair, campaigning alone for the first time in the same state where Obama launches a bus tour of his own. Monday's events may help determine whether conservative excitement for the Wisconsin congressman — and his controversial budget plans — will overshadow Romney's own economic message."
According to The Des Moines Register, Obama's "three-day, river-to-river tour of Iowa" is highly unusual:
"Scholars and politicos were left reaching for a precise analogy to the trip, in which the president will motor through at least seven Iowa cities, beginning this morning in Council Bluffs and finishing Wednesday in Davenport.
"Nothing from the presidential past quite seems to mirror such a big play for such a small state: the leader of the free world leaving Washington, D.C., for three days and two nights to chase six electoral votes in a race that requires 270 to win."
But in what's expected to be a tight race, experts tell the Register, the campaigns are going to compete hard in every so-called swing state.
While in Iowa today, Reuters and Bloomberg News report, the president is going to announce that the federal government is buying as much as $170 million worth of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish that will go to food banks in an effort to help farmers who have been hit hard by this year's extensive drought.
Our friends at It's All Politics are following the campaign's twists and turns here.