Published: Dec 23, 2011 4:21 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney favors economic policies that would help some succeed but leave most Americans behind.
    
Biden made the claims in an op-ed published in Friday's editions of The Des Moines Register. Biden singled out Romney in the state where the first votes will be cast in the GOP caucuses in less than two weeks.
    
For his part, President Barack Obama has largely refrained from counterattacking Republicans, saying he will wait until voters have settled on a nominee. But Obama's campaign has not, and Biden's column is the latest sign the Obama team believes Romney will emerge from the field.
    
Biden said Romney's proposals for the economy "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."
    
"Romney also misleadingly suggests that the president and I are creating an 'Entitlement Society,' whereby government provides everything for its people without regard to merit, as opposed to what he calls an "Opportunity Society," where everything is merit-based and every man is left to fend for himself," Biden wrote.
    
Biden's message underscored the major theme of Obama's re-election bid, as spelled out in a speech Obama made in Kansas earlier this month: The middle class is at a make-or-break moment. The president, saddled with high unemployment, has to make the case that his is the better vision for an ongoing economic recovery for all.
    
Earlier this week, Romney accused Obama of deepening the economic crisis and backing policies that would redistribute wealth instead of creating equal opportunity for people to do well. Romney said his policies would turn the U.S. into an "opportunity society" while Obama's vision for an "entitlement society" would make more people dependent on government welfare.
    
In his op-ed, Biden responded: "The only entitlement we believe in is an America where if you work hard, you can get ahead."
    
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AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller contributed to this report.

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