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Race to the Top

Ask not what the presidential candidates can do for you--ask what they can do for your business. We look at the issues shaping President Bush's and Senator Kerry's entrepreneurial agendas.

By Joshua Kurlantzick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In recent months, many of the barbs traded between 2004 presidential candidates Sen. John F. Kerry and President George W. Bush have been about foreign affairs. The campaigns have sparred over the rationale for the Iraq war, each man's military service and other divisive foreign topics.

But polls show that for most Americans, the war is a secondary issue compared to the economy. For small companies, this is even truer. During the first half of Bush's term, the economy entered a prolonged slowdown, seriously hurting entrepreneurs who didn't have the capital to survive. Some complained the White House wasn't helping smaller companies pull themselves up; others believed the Bush administration's macroeconomic policies, including its tax cuts and regulatory rollback, were providing a broad stimulus for smaller firms. Indeed, in recent months, job growth has been stronger. And The Conference Board, a research group, reported that consumer confidence was at its highest in two years as of June.

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