Mirroring the first debate face-off between President Obama and Governor Romney, small business once again took center stage at Tuesday’s town hall debate. The candidates faced-off on job creation and tax rates.

When answering the night’s first question on creating jobs (which came from a 20-year-old first-time voter), the president emphasized that his plan for creating new jobs centers on building manufacturing jobs. He also touted the jobs he has created during his term.

“We are helping them, and small businesses to export around the world in new markets,” Obama said of his tax plan.

Governor Romney’s first mention of small businesses came during his discussion of tax rates.

“Why do I want to bring rates down?” he said. “Because if you bring rates down, it makes it easier for small business to keep more of their capital and hire people. And for me this is about jobs.”

Meanwhile, Obama said he has cut taxes for small businesses 18 times in his term, and said he is willing to do so once again, but has been unable to due to Congressional gridlock.

“97% of small businesses, they will not see a tax increase,” Obama said. “I am ready to sign that bill right now. The only reason it’s not happening is because Governor Romney’s allies in Congress have held the 98% hostage because …. tax breaks for the top two percent.”

Romney spoke of his experience creating jobs in the private sector, and said his five-point plan would help free up capital so small businesses could begin hiring again.

“I want to help small businesses grow and thrive,” Romney said. “I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go.”

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