President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden participate in a military… (Kristoffer Tripplaar/…)
Vice President Joe Biden is off to an early start in playing the traditional role of attack dog for the Democratic ticket, accusing Mitt Romney of wanting to "double down" on failed Republican economic policies.
To date, President Obama and his vice president have avoided directly confronting any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, leaving the partisan sniping to campaign surrogates and staff.
It appears that is about to change.
Writing in Iowa's largest newspaper just days before the state's leadoff caucuses, Biden says that the former Massachusetts governor "appears satisfied to settle for an economy in which fewer people succeed, while the majority of Americans are left to tread water or fall behind."
"His plan would actually double down on the policies that caused the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression and accelerated a decades-long assault on the middle class," Biden writes in the Des Moines Register, which has endorsed Romney for the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Biden also rebuts Romney's argument that the Obama administration has worked to create an "entitlement society."
"The only entitlement we believe in is an America where if you work hard, you can get ahead," he writes. "And we know from recent experience that his policy prescription for an 'Opportunity Society' leads to less, not more opportunity for middle class Americans."
Democrats have long singled Romney out as the likeliest general election foe. But to have the incumbent vice president single him out marks an escalation in the party's game plan.
Romney seemed to welcome the opportunity to engage.
"I don't think they get it. I don't think they understand from fantasyland what's happening in real America," Romney said while campaigning in New Hampshire on Friday, according to the Associated Press.