The economy took center stage in Tuesday's GOP presidential debate, but the candidates seemed tone deaf on how to help the middle class. The debate in Dearborn, Mich., was also the first for actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, a latecomer to the Republican fray. Thompson at least acknowledged that the nation has some significant economic problems. That came as a surprise to the other candidates, who love to say low taxes, with a sprinkle of free trade, are the answer to economic prosperity. Newscaster Maria Bartiromo, one of the moderators of the debate, which was sponsored by CNBC, MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal, cited a survey that said two-thirds (read lower and middle classes) of the populace believe the economy is in recession. She asked what the candidates would do to solve the problem. None of them understand that wages remain stagnant in America, and the middle class require better jobs. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who I think won the debate, was best prepared to answer the question. He suggested everyone, including business and government, had to pitch in to help the economy. He recognized the need to fix schools, invest in technology, encourage free trade and keep taxes down. He took a shot at Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, by jokingly suggesting he was "nervous she would put a tax on the debate."