09/14/2012 11:00 am ET Updated Sep 14, 2012

Romney Campaign Is Pretty Averse To Using The Word 'Neo-Conservative'

What sort of foreign policy philosophy is Mitt Romney likely to follow? Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), writing for Foreign Policy back in July, sized it up as pretty neo-conservative, thanks for asking, noting that "out of Romney's 24 special advisers on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration."

Laura Hughes followed on soon after -- but while she noted the presence of advisers who were, to her mind, "cause for concern," she allowed that the GOP presidential nominee wasn't all that hard to pin down, given the fact that his foreign policy team also included "a number of very thoughtful and moderate voices," decidedly not cut from the neo-con mold.

So it's a worthy question to ask: Does Mitt Romney consider himself a neo-conservative? And lo, the Washington Post's Jason Horowitz decided to ask it, of Alex Wong, who serves as the Romney camp's foreign policy director:

“His embrace of American values and interests and his call for American leadership abroad throughout this campaign is indicative of a philosophy of peace through strength,” Alex Wong, the campaign’s foreign policy director, said in an interview.

Does he embrace neoconservatism?

“You know,” said Wong, “throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has indicated that his view on the world is peace through strength, American leadership, in guaranteeing an American century, that this new century continues to be an American century. And that’s the governing philosophy of Governor Romney on peace through strength.”

So does he consider himself a neoconservative?

“What I’m saying is,” said Wong, “Governor Romney’s embrace of American values and interests and his call for American leadership is a philosophy of peace through strength.”

This goes on, for six more questions, as Horowitz tries to get to the bottom of the matter. Horowitz's quest is, ultimately fruitless, but it is hilarious, so go read the whole thing. The takeaway is that Romney basically wants neo-con platitudes without the neo-con branding.

But go back and read Laura Hughes' piece again -- there have been moments where President Barack Obama has sought the same thing. And there have been moments where he has surpassed his neo-con predecessors.

Romney’s foreign policy: An ideology that dare not speak its name [WaPo]

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