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50-day countdown: Biden, Ryan stump in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The two 2012 vice presidential candidates held dueling campaign rallies in the Hawkeye State Monday with incumbent Vice President Joe Biden stumping in the southeast region of the state and Republican challenger Paul Ryan in the capital.

Biden campaigned along the Mississippi River in Burlington about three hours from Ryan’s rally here in Des Moines. Despite Iowa having just six electoral votes to award in November, both VP candidates have made frequent visits.

In the river town of Burlington, Biden hammered Romney's record on China in front of a crowd of about 500, saying it's "laughable" that the GOP nominee is "lecturing" Americans about the need to crack down on China.

"The fact is there's nothing that I can see that Gov. Romney has done, or has proposed to do, that will in any way stand up to unfair trade practices for China," Biden said.

The vice president referenced a recent posting by "the Chinese government news agency" that noted Romney's financial gain from that nation's companies during his time at Bain Capital. That shout-out earned a scathing response from the Republican National Committee, which scolded Biden for quoting a "Chinese Communist propaganda machine."

Ryan continued to attack the Obama administration during his nearly 30-minute speech for failing to control the nation’s debt, noting that Iowans serve as a good example as they are “frugal” and always seem to “live within their means.”

“When my kids are my age, we’ll have to take about 40 cents out of every single dollar just to pay for this government at that time. This is unsustainable,” Ryan said inside the Embassy Suites hotel. “Our government right now borrows about 30 cents of every dollar spend, and about half of that comes from other countries like China. This isn’t working. And President Obama has had four chances, four opportunities to do something about this.”

The trip to Iowa was Biden's fifth this year and Ryan’s fourth just since being tapped as Romney’s VP on August 11th.

Early in-person voting begins on September 27 in the state, which both vice president contenders pointed out today in the battleground state.

Biden ardently reminded attendees Monday to "get engaged" now as the campaigns sprint to the November finish line 50 days from today.

Said Ryan, “States like Iowa could very well determine the future of this country.”

Earlier in the day, Biden offered a friendly culinary nod to the seven-term Wisconsin congressman running against him while grabbing a bite to eat in Muscatine, Iowa.

"Let the congressman know I’m eating Wisconsin cheese soup," Biden said inside Good Earth Restaurant.