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A CEO as US president? America is not a business, Mitt Romney.

Romney was a one-term governor, but he is surely the 24-carat chief executive officer. There are huge differences in skills required to be a successful CEO and a president of the United States. Presidents, for example, have to make life-and-death decisions that go beyond spreadsheets.

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Campaigning in Florida on the day before the primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands at Ring Power Lift Trucks in Jacksonville Jan. 30. While a CEO can fire disloyal employees, in politics, you have to work with your adversaries.

AP Photo/Florida Times-Union, Bruce Lipsky

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A photo of Mitt Romney splashed across the cover of a recent Economist under the title “America’s next CEO” was a bit unsettling. Not because Mr. Romney isn’t qualified to be president, but because America’s main need is for a public servant, not a corporate executive.

For the most part, Americans have favored candidates with a career in public service – sometimes electing soldiers but often voting for lawyers who went on to hold public office.

Romney has served as a one-term governor of Massachusetts. But he is surely the 24-carat chief executive officer.

And yet there are huge differences in the skills required to be a successful CEO and the talents demanded of a president of the United States.

Business acumen does not magically translate into skillful management of the US economy. Recall, George W. Bush was touted as America’s first president with an MBA. Now, according to a January Washington Post/ABC News poll, 54 percent of Americans believe the current economic problems are Mr. Bush’s fault while only 29 percent blame President Obama.

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