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On foreign policy, Romney counts ex-Bush officials among his closest allies

It's been a tough week for Mitt Romney. But at least the neocons still like him.

While few leading voices in the GOP establishment are backing the Republican presidential nominee's bungled response to this week's embassy attacks, several former officials in President George W. Bush's administration are coming to Romney's defense.

For example, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took to Twitter, writing: “The attacks on our embassies & diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness. Mitt Romney is right to point that out.”

Dan Senor, a key foreign policy adviser to Romney (and an Iraq War coalition spokesman under Bush), repeated Romney's false claim that Obama was guilty of "sympathizing with attackers."

And Liz Cheney, former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Cheney, penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing that, because of Obama, America is no longer feared. She also echoed Romney's charge (also false) that "apologizing for America" is a cornerstone of Obama's foreign policy.

Romney's coterie of advisers includes several former Bush Administration officials. Indeed, 17 of his 24 foreign policy advisors are Bush-era neocons.

"These are the folks Romney is aligning himself with," MSNBC host Al Sharpton said Thursday. "They are the people coming to his defense and guiding his policies."

Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast/Newsweek told Sharpton that Romney feels he "needs the support of this group to get into the White House. ... We're gearing up for a replay of Bush foreign policy."