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He added, “I think the positions he has articulated domestically and internationally are thoroughly conservative, and I think he’s somebody who can beat Obama. I looked for somebody who came as close as you could to Ronald Reagan, and I thought it was Romney.”

Asked whether the list of former Bush advisers might serve as fodder for attacks from the liberal critics and the news media over the long war in Iraq, Mr. Bolton replied, “Since he’s a Republican, they’re going to do it anyway.”

A spokesman for Mr. Rumsfeld said the former defense secretary has not signed on to any GOP campaign but is available to talk to the candidates if asked.