(CNN) - The 2012 presidential campaign returned its focus to Iowa on Monday as President Barack Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan, the newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate, were set to stump in the electoral battleground.
Elsewhere, Mitt Romney continued his campaign bus tour at events in Florida and Vice President Joe Biden was slated to rally in North Carolina, making Monday the first day all four candidates vying for president and vice president hit the trail.
The focus for all four remained on Ryan, who was unveiled as Romney's running mate at a Saturday morning event in Virginia. A CNN/ORC poll taken at the beginning of August showed a majority of Americans were unfamiliar with Ryan, leaving an opening for both Democrats and Republicans to offer their own definitions of the seven-term Wisconsin congressman.
In St. Augustine, Romney called Ryan "a man who has proven that he knows how to solve problems," pointing to his budget plan that seeks to slash the federal debt and deficit.
Yet it's that very plan that Democrats, including Obama, seized upon in the hours after Romney announced he had selected Ryan as his running mate, latching specifically onto his proposals for Medicare, the government-run health care program for senior citizens.
Ryan's proposals, first introduced in 2011, include the provision that Medicare-approved private insurers would one day compete with traditional Medicare on an exchange. The proposal would not affect Americans over age 55. The plan's opponents, who include most Democrats, say that would increase the financial burden on senior citizens.
"Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both want to end Medicare as we know it. They both want to shred the safety net," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" on Monday.
Ryan, the House budget committee chairman, said Sunday the intention of his plan is to remake Medicare so that it remains financially soluble for future generations.
"My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida," he said on CBS. "Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they've organized their retirements around."
"In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger," he continued. "And we think these reforms are good reforms that have bipartisan origins."
On Monday, Romney said he and Ryan "want to make sure we preserve and protect Medicare."
Ryan was set to stump Monday at the Iowa State Fair, the site of last summer's surprise straw poll win from then-presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann. The state, known for its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, is shaping up to be a battleground again in November. An NBC/Marist poll taken in May showed Romney and Obama tied at 44%.
Obama began a three-day blitz of Iowa on Monday. The state ignited his 2008 primary charge against Hillary Clinton and later handed him a 10-point victory over Sen. John McCain.
The seven-city tour, lasting through Wednesday, will include stops in Council Bluffs, Boone, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Dubuque and Davenport.
Romney aides said this weekend that Romney and Ryan will campaign separately until the Republican convention this month in Tampa.
Romney aide Brendan Buck said Ryan would campaign in central Florida next weekend, a rebuff to critics who said the vice presidential candidate was skipping Romney's stops in Florida this week to avoid questions about his Medicare proposals from senior citizens there.
CNN's Alexander Mooney and CNNMoney's Lex Haris contributed to this report.
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