(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- President Obama is losing ground in the latest polls to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who's pushing back against Democrats criticizing his business experience.
As the president has stepped up his attacks on Romney and his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, Romney has indicated, during this crucial period to define himself to the electorate, he is not going to take the attacks lying down.
"He just doesn't have a clue what to do to get this economy going. I do," Romney asserted in an interview with Mark Halperin, of Time magazine.
Romney responded aggressively Wednesday to the Obama campaign's attack on his work as CEO of Bain Capital, and to questions about his qualifications to be president.
In the Time interview, Romney turned the tables, almost scoffing at Mr. Obama's qualifications when he ran for president in 2008.
"Right now," Romney told Halperin, "we have an economy in trouble, and someone who's spent their career in the economy is more suited to help fix the economy than someone who's spent his life in politics and as a community organizer."
In the past two weeks, the Obama campaign has rolled out several attacks on Romney and his time at Bain Capital.
"He's running for president, and if he's going to run the country the way he ran our business, I wouldn't want him there," a steelworker says in one ad.
But so far, it's not working.
Instead of a bump in public opinion for the president, recent polls show Romney's approval ratings on the rise -- and.
With the attacks failing to resonate, the Obama campaign is hitting even harder.
In California Wednesday night, the president turned up the volume with attacks that sounded almost personal -- and placed himself on the side of "regular" Americans.
"I think he's drawn the wrong lessons from these experiences," Mr. Obama said of Romney. "He seems to believe that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him are getting rich, that the rest of us do, too."
An NBC News/Marist poll out Thursday morning has Mr. Obama still leading, though narrowly, in three key swing states, including Ohio and Virginia. But he has slipped below 50 percent and Romney has picked up a lot of ground to tighten the gap.
So, as the president himself said in the Wednesday speech, the election is going to be close, and the attacks will keep coming.
To see Jan Crawford's report, click on the video in the player above.