The new Obama campaign line: Mitt Romney is basically John Bolton, at least for now.

On Tuesday night, the re-election effort enlisted one of its heavyweight foreign policy surrogates, Michele Flournoy, to go nuclear on Romney in response to an Op-Ed Bolton, the combative Bush Administration Ambassador to the United Nations, published in the Washington Times. (Flournoy was one of the most senior officials in the Pentagon. Her name is regularly mentioned as possibly being the first female defense secretary.)…

Another Obama campaign official elaborated on the critique in an interview, saying that Bolton “embodies the reckless neoconservative thinking that was largely responsible for getting us into Iraq on false pretenses, degrading our alliances around the world, and hurting our standing overseas.” The official went on to say Romney was “embracing” Bolton’s policies.

This is about as far as the campaign has gone in tying Romney’s people to Iraq, as well as the neoconservative ideology that animated that war. Campaign officials say that the “neocon tag” isn’t just a sop to the liberal base, who rightly respond to it as kind of bogeyman of the right. It’s also a reminder to independent and middle of the road voters who see the policies of Iraq as a “disaster.”