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Analysis: Who Is Most Qualified to Be President?

Analysis: Who Is Most Qualified to Be President?

The Presidential Seal is seen on a podium at the White House in Washington, December 14, 2009. | (Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Work experience should be an important factor when choosing a president. To help voters take political work experience into account, here's a ranking of the major current and potential presidential candidates.

Like any job, experience matters for the job of president. This is demonstrated well by that fact that our current and previous presidents lacked broad political experience and were unprepared to be president. (President George W. Bush had only state-level executive experience and President Barack Obama had only state and federal-level legislative experience.)

Ideally, the best preparation for the job of president would be a combination of executive and legislative, state and federal, positions. Plus, they should have electoral experience, not just appointment positions.

In ranking the candidates, years of experience mattered as well as variety of experience. Generally, candidates with both legislative and executive, and both state and federal experience were ranked above candidates with only one type of experience.

One caveat to keep in mind, however, is that political work experience should not be the only factor taken into consideration. Voters should consider other factors, such as non-political work experience, education, character, ideology and what was accomplished with their political experience.

Political work experience should, though, be a factor when choosing a president. Readers should think of the following as one tool among many that can be used when deciding which candidate to support.

With that in mind, here is a ranking, from most qualified to least qualified, based upon political work experience.

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) arrives to speak at the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland February 26, 2015. | (Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

1. Bobby Jindal

Executive: Louisiana governor (2007-present), U.S. Health and Human Services Department assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation (2001-2003), University of Louisiana system president (1999-2001), Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals secretary (1996-1998).

Legislative: U.S. congressman (2004-2008).

Other: Republican Governors Association chair (2012-2013), Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare executive director (1998-1999).

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee uncaps his pen as he signs the Marriage Equality Act into law at the State House in Providence, Rhode Island, May 2, 2013. Rhode Island became the 10th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. | (Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

2. Lincoln Chafee

Executive: Rhode Island governor (2010-2014), Warwick mayor (1992-1999).

Legislative: U.S. senator (1999-2006), Warwick city council (1986-1990).

3. John Kasich

Executive: Ohio governor (2010-present).

Legislative: U.S. congressman (1983-2000), Ohio senator (1979-1983).

Other: presidential candidate (2000).


4. Bernie Sanders

Executive: Burlington mayor (1981-1989).

Legislative: U.S. senator (2006-present), U.S. congressman (1990-2006).

Other: Vermont gubernatorial candidate (1972, 1976, 1986).

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the United Nations in New York in this March 10, 2015, file photo. Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 on Sunday, April 12, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files)

5. Hillary Clinton

Executive: Secretary of State (2009-2013), first lady to president (1992-2000), first lady to governor (1978-1980, 1982-1992).

Legislative: U.S. Senator (2001-2009).

Other: Task Force of National Health Care Reform chair (1993).

6. Ted Cruz

Executive: Solicitor general of Texas (2003-2008), director of Federal Trade Commission's Office of Policy Planning (2001-2003), U.S. Justice Department associate deputy attorney general (2001).

Legislative: U.S. senator (2012-present).

Texas Governor Rick Perry attends the second Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala in New York, May 18, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)

7. Rick Perry

Executive: Texas governor (2000-2014), Texas lt. governor (1999-2000), Texas Commissioner of Agriculture (1990-1998).

Legislative: Texas House member (1985-1990).

Other: presidential candidate (2012).

8. Scott Walker

Executive: Wisconsin governor (2010-present), Milwaukee county executive (2002-2010).

Legislative: Wisconsin Assembly member (1993-2002).

9. Martin O'Malley

Executive: Maryland governor (2007-2014), Baltimore mayor (1999-2007).

Legislative: Baltimore City Council (1991-1999).

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Ashton Carter, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be secretary of defense, during a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 4, 2015. | )Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron)

10. Lindsey Graham

Executive: city attorney (1990-1994), assistant county attorney (1988-1992).

Legislative: U.S. senator (2003-present), U.S. congressman (1995-2002) South Carolina House member (1992-1994).

11. Chris Christie

Executive: New Jersey governor (2010-present), U.S. District Attorney (2002-2008).

Legislative: Morris County director of Board of Freeholders (1997), Morris County Freeholder (1995-1997).

Other: Republican Governors Association chair (2013-2014).

12. Marco Rubio

Executive: None.

Legislative: U.S. senator (2011-present), Florida speaker of the House (2006-2008), Florida House majority leader (2003-2006), Florida House member (2000-2008), West Miami commissioner (1998-2000).

13. Rick Santorum

Executive: None.

Legislative: U.S. senator (1994-2006), U.S. congressman (1990-1994).

Other: Presidential candidate (2012).

14. Mike Huckabee

Executive: Arkansas governor (1996-2007), Arkansas lt. governor (1993-1996).

Legislative: None.

Other: Presidential candidate (2008).

15. Jeb Bush

Executive: Florida governor (1988-2006), Florida secretary of commerce (1987-1988).

Legislative: None.

16. Jim Webb

Executive: Secretary of the Navy (1987-1988).

Legislative: U.S. senator (2007-2012).

17. Rick Snyder

Executive: Michigan governor (2010-present).

Legislative: None.


18. Rand Paul

Executive: None.

Legislative: U.S. senator (2010-present).

19. Carly Fiorina

Executive: None.

Legislative: None.

Other: U.S. Senate candidate (2010).

20. Ben Carson

Executive: None.

Legislative: None.

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