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Romney suggests business experience should be prerequisite

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Hours before clinching the Republican presidential nomination last week, Mitt Romney floated an idea at a campaign rally in Las Vegas: the future president should be required to have three years of business experience before serving in office.

Speaking before a crowd of 600 at Somers Furniture, Romney referenced the idea while recalling a conversation he had with a local restaurant owner, Forbes reported.

“I was speaking with one of these business owners ... And he said, ‘You know, I’d like to change the Constitution,’ ” Romney said, citing the earlier conversation. “ ‘I’d like to have a provision in the Constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birthplace of the president ... I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States.’ ”

Romney did not explicitly endorse the suggestion, but added that if business experience were a requirement, the president “would understand that the policies they’re putting in place have to encourage small business, make it easier for business to grow.”

Choosing Somers Furniture as the site of the rally underscores Romney’s ongoing effort to paint Obama’s policies as harmful to small businesses. Somers owner Debbi Somers had previously supported Obama, hosting a small-business roundtable for him during his first presidential campaign in 2008, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Somers told Las Vegas’ 8 News Now that she now fears the financial impact of the president’s Affordable Care Act.

Romney’s comments in Las Vegas come as the campaigns for both candidates grow increasingly critical of the other’s business acumen, in particular the Obama administration’s investment in the now-bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra, and Romney’s tenure at private equity firm Bain Capital.

A spokesperson for the Romney campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

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