With all eyes shifting from Iowa to New Hampshire, the six remaining Republican presidential candidates gathered for two debates in the Granite State this past weekend.

Both debates featured the full ensemble – Speaker Newt Gingrich, Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Mitt Romney.

Saturday night’s ABC News and Yahoo! News debate encompassed a variety of issues, the obstacles to growing our economy and creating jobs. Sen. Santorum highlighted the NAM’s cost study, which shows that it is 20 percent more expensive to do business in the United States. This figure excludes labor costs. The cost burden rose from a 2008 report which put it at 17.6 percent. The report indicates the increase is due to widening gaps in regards to corporate tax rates and employee benefits.

While we have emerged from the economic recession, we are still facing challenging times. Unemployment remains at 8.5 percent and employers frequently cite “uncertainty” as their reasons for not expanding. This in turn, lowers our competitive edge. These topics were also echoed during Sunday’s NBC News and Facebook debate.

Several other candidates, including Gov. Romney and Gov. Huntsman discussed the need to become more competitive and Speaker Gingrich reiterated his plan to lower the corporate tax rate.

Manufacturing needs to be at the forefront of our economic recovery and it is encouraging to see presidential hopefuls talk about the need for a “manufacturing renaissance.” The National Association of Manufacturers is hopeful that the candidates will continue to discuss their manufacturing plans during the upcoming South Carolina and Florida debates.

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