Yet these people said they see similarities in their worldviews as well as other mannerisms. Both are hawkish on foreign policy, for instance, voicing unrepentant support for U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and beef up the military.
“They both very much believe in a strong defense and exerting American power where need be,” said Tom Sansonetti, a close friend of Cheney’s who served in the younger Bush’s administration and is a Romney donor.
“The way that [Romney] has addressed some of the international issues that have occurred, such as Libya, his attitude and response toward Iran and their attempt to attain nuclear weapons, his approach to Syria — if it were candidate Cheney instead of candidate Romney, I think they would have the same view on those matters,” Sansonetti added.
One George W. Bush administration official who has worked closely with Cheney and Romney said they are “very different.”
“They’re both very probing personalities in the context of policy discussions. They don’t let up. They really drill down. They’re both very smart and curious intellectually,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank.
“They’re different in that Cheney really keeps his cards close to his chest, even in policy meetings, whereas Romney is not as focused on keeping you guessing,” the official added. “Romney has a style of more freewheeling, open discussion. He isn’t worried about asking dumb questions.”
Many Cheney allies who shaped policy in the Bush years — including Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, John C. Yoo and David Addington — have no roles in the Romney campaign. Nor do many senior foreign policy figures from that period, such as Condoleezza Rice, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Colin L. Powell, Robert M. Gates and Stephen J. Hadley — although Hadley endorsed Romney in April and Rice spoke at Romney’s donor retreat last month.
“Romney’s his own man and brings his own approach,” said Charlie Black, an adviser to the candidate.
Still, many political operatives or lower-ranking policy officials from the George W. Bush administration are deeply enmeshed in the Romney campaign, including senior adviser Ed Gillespie; foreign policy adviser Dan Senor; economic policy advisers Glenn Hubbard and Gregory Mankiw; and strategists Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer. And several senior Romney staff members are veterans of Bush’s Republican National Committee, including campaign manager Matt Rhoades.
Asked to assess their relationship, Tom C. Korologos, an ambassador to Belgium in the Bush administration, echoed the thoughts of several other Republicans who know Cheney and Romney.
“I’m not sure they have any relationship except that they are of the same party,” Korologos said. “I never see any signs of Cheney people around the Romney campaign.”