(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden slid into his role as campaign attack dog Friday, taking on Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney by contrasting his proposals with those of the current administration. And Romney quickly siezed on the comments during his first event of the day.
In an op-ed published in the Des Moines Register, 11 days ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Biden said the economic proposals from Romney, one of the GOP frontrunners, mirror those that led to the economic collapse, a repeat of which "Americans cannot afford."
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He also criticized the former Massachusetts governor for categorizing the policies of the Obama administration as creating an "entitlement society" instead of an "opportunity society," an oft-repeated Romney line on the campaign trail.
"The only entitlement we believe in is an America where if you work hard, you can get ahead," Biden wrote. "His policy prescription for an 'opportunity society' leads to less, not more opportunity for middle class Americans. How can anyone forget the economic catastrophe brought about by the same policies Mr. Romney's proposing?"
According to national and state-wide polling, Romney, who is making his second bid for the White House, is a consistent top-tier candidate in the 2012 battle for the GOP nomination. In keeping with that status, he has focused the bulk of his prodding on the current president, instead of his fellow Republicans.
Although Biden and Obama have occasionally jabbed the Republican field as representing the policies of former President George W. Bush, Biden's op-ed is the latest example the Obama reelection team is honing in on Romney.
In Friday's piece, Biden also described to Iowa voters what he and President Barack Obama stand for, including universal health care coverage, American ingenuity and reducing the deficit.
"Quite simply, the president and I believe this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules," Biden wrote. "That is how we define opportunity."
Romney responded to the vice president, accusing him of inhabiting a "fantasy land."
"The delusion to imagine that I was responsible for the decline of this economy of the last three years," Romney said at a campaign stop in Tilton, New Hampshire Friday. "You wonder in some respects what fantasy land he lives in."
"This president and his policies have made it harder on the American people and the middle class. And I don't think they get it," he added.
– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.