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Having camped out in New Hampshire all weekend, I’ve attended just under a dozen political events in two and a half days. Town halls, coffee-shop stops, and rallies.And Republicans in New Hampshire are worried about what you’d expect. They want repeal of Obamacare, many of them want someone who will appoint judges who will reverse legal abortion, they ask about cuts to the military budget.
But the issue that comes up over and over again at every single event, without fail, is manufacturing jobs.
“It’s the basis of the economy. We make things,” said a questioner at this morning’s meeting with Mitt Romney in Nashua.
“There used to be lots of jobs in New Hampshire,” said another at a Huntsman Town Hall in North Haverhill.
“What can we do to get back manufacturing” was the second question asked to Newt Gingrich at his Town Hall in Derry.
In Hollis, when Rick Santorum kept talking and droning about how he cares about creating manufacturing jobs because he is a blue-collar guy, someone in the audience interrupted, “How will you do it?”
And why wouldn’t they worry? There have been over two decades of manufacturing decline in New Hampshire, and it is still declining.
Mitt Romney says he will try to help the whole economy and let the market decide on manufacturing. Rick Santorum has promised to zero-out taxes on manufacturing, and Jon Huntsman has talked up a “manufacturing Renaissance.” But no single candidate has really grabbed people with a message about actual blue-collar jobs.