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Two voters go head-to-head on jobs

By Christina Zdanowicz, CNN
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Wed July 11, 2012
  • CNN selects two iReporters with unemployment stories to go head-to-head in a debate
  • The iReporters talk about why jobs are bleak and what the government's role should be
  • Watch the video and vote on who you think won the debate

Editor's note: Who do you think won the debate? Watch the video and scroll down to vote on the left.

(CNN) -- Where are the jobs?

With this month's weak jobs report and the unemployment rate remaining stagnant, it's a question Americans have been asking again and again and an issue taking center stage in the 2012 presidential election.

To get an intimate look at how the jobs picture is affecting voters, CNN selected two iReporters with compelling unemployment stories to go head-to-head in a debate. In previous iReport videos, they identified the economy as the No. 1 issue driving their vote this year.

iReport Debate

Which iReporter said it best?

Philip Dahlheimer, who calls himself a conservative-leaning independent from Henderson, Nevada, lost his manufacturing job of 20 years when the factory moved operations to China. These days, he works as a freelance photographer, videographer, building manager and more. He believes the government needs to play a larger role in creating jobs in the U.S.

Unemployment is something with which iReporter Jannet Walsh is also intimately familiar. Working as a photojournalist, she was laid off twice in the past four years. Walsh then moved home to the tiny town of Murdock, Minnesota, to care for her dying mother and since then, she's struggled to find work. This year, she launched her own freelance photography and multimedia business.

Walsh agrees the government should play some role in fixing the economy, but encourages people to "look at ourselves for the solution to the problem," she said in a recent video on iReport.

Walsh and Dahlheimer are two of the hundreds of iReporters who have shared their views on a variety of hot-button political issues in the iReport Debate, an eight-month project that invites voters to make their voices heard this election season.

The project started with iReporters sharing which issue matters most to them. The five top-voted issues determined the topics for the head-to-head debates, and will shape the questions that CNN ultimately takes to Obama and Romney.

While sharing their unemployment stories, the two debaters related to each other. But their views differed on when it came to this question: What should the government's role be in creating jobs?

Watch the video and let us know who you think won the debate by voting on this page and leaving a comment below. Or, if you'd like to share your views on the economy, upload your thoughts to iReport via video or text.

The best video respondents could get a chance to be in an iReport Debate.

CNN intern Jake Stein contributed to this story.