Although Mitt Romney's determination to campaign for president on his record as a businessman has led both his supporters and his detractors to suggest that if elected, he would attempt to run the country like a business, Romney's own understanding of the presidential role has never been entirely clear,

He may, however, have accidentally let his beliefs slip out at a campaign event in Florida on Friday, when he referred to the United States as a "company."

"[Obama] didn't know what it takes to actually make the economy work," Romney told his audience. "Paul Ryan and I understand how the economy works, we understand how Washington works, we will reach across the aisle and find good people who like us, want to make sure this company deals with its challenges. We’ll get America on track again."

Romney hesitated slightly after the word "company," as if he was vaguely aware he might have used the wrong word, but then plowed on without correcting himself.

The gaffe quickly drew criticism from the left.

"The goal of a company is to make money," ThinkProgress observed,

"whereas the goal of a government is to provide services that are not achievable in the private sector. Romney’s belief that the government is similar to a company explains his dedication to cutting programs that he perceives are 'inefficient' because they cost money, even if they effectively help American citizens."

And diarist TomP at Daily Kos remarked even more sharply, "People don't sacrifice for a company. They don't volunteer and maybe die in a war for a company, at least not knowingly. ... Corporations may be people, Mitt, and you may be a corporation, but the United States of America is no 'company.' We are a nation of people who share common ideals of freedom, equality, liberty and decency that NO Company can."

This video was uploaded to YouTube by isancold on August 31, 2012.