Economy takes center stage during Michigan GOP debate

The steps of the auditorium that hosted Wednesday's debate. / Jonathan McEmber

All eight candidates for the Republican nomination for President took part in Wednesday night's CNBC debate at Oakland University in Rochester.

"Businesses are uncertain about health care rules. They don't know what the tax rules are going to be. All this uncertainty has this economy stagnate we need to grow this economy," said candidate Herman Cain, who briefly addressed the on-going sexual harassment allegations against him, before other candidates helped steer the debate back to the economy.

Political experts say Cain and Mitt Romney walked away as the winners Wednesday night.

"Being in the Detroit area with the housing problems and people not being able to compensate what's going on in their lives economically losing their jobs, it's the final nail in the coffin," said Midland resident Sean Cannady, who spoke with NBC25 before going inside to watch the debate.

Aside from the U.S. economy, the candidates fielded questions about the debt crisis in Europe and currency manipulation practices being used by China.