Heilemann: Romney Avoided the 'Dangers' of Past 'Harsh' Statements Inspired by 'Neocon' Advisors

On PBS's Charlie Rose show on Monday, as the group discussed the night's presidential debate, New York magazine's John Heilemann described Mitt Romney's past statements on foreign policy as "relatively harsh and relatively bellicose," as he argued that Romney had faced political "dangers" in his foreign policy positions "because he's been surrounded by some number of neo-conservative foreign policy advisors."

After Heilemann observed that Romney had avoided such talk during the debate, Newsweek's Tina Brown laughed as she took a crack at former Bush administration Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. Brown: "I'm sure John Bolton wanted to throw himself out of the window when he watched this debate."

The relevant portion of the October 22 Charlie Rose show on PBS is below:

JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Governor Romney basically all night tonight said one thing. The overarching theme of the entire debate from his point of view was, "I would basically have the same policies as Barack Obama, I'd just execute them better."

And that goes to one very specific thing which the Obama campaign is advertising on right now, which is, which is the end of the wars. You know, we have a country that is a very war-weary country, and that's not just women, that's everybody across the board, and one of the dangers Governor Romney has had in the past because he's been surrounded by some number of neo-conservative foreign policy advisors because he's made some relatively harsh and relatively bellicose statements. You know, Chuck (Todd) talked about the Mubarak thing. There have been other places where he has seemed to be more interventionist, more neocon-ish.

He steered really far clear of that by essentially saying, "I'm kind of with the President on the substance of the policy, I just would be a better executer of it, I'd be a better manager of it." He managed to make himself not seem like a warmonger, to put it, like, bluntly. And I think, you know, from the standpoint of seeming like a safe pair of hands, of doing the kind of assurance Mark (Halperin) is talking about, it's not just looking like a plausible commander-in-chief, but also looking like a commander-in-chief who's not gonna plunge us into a bunch of foreign adventures and a bunch of new military entanglements that would, in fact, scare off a lot of American voters if it seemed that he was, in fact, a risky choice in that regard.

TINA BROWN, NEWSWEEK: I'm sure John Bolton wanted to throw himself out of the window when he watched this debate.