Bush Declines Invitation To Join Obama At Ground Zero

Former President Bush has declined an invitation to join President Obama at Ground Zero on Thursday:

WASHINGTON — Former President George W. Bush has declined an invitation to join President Barack Obama at a New York City ceremony later this week marking the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

The White House said that Obama on Thursday will visit ground zero, the site of al-Qaida’s attack on the World Trade Center, and meet with the families of those killed nearly 10 years ago on Thursday.

“President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday,” The New York Times quoted his spokesman David Sherzer as saying. “He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”

Bush, whose presidency was defined by the al-Qaida-led Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has largely maintained a low public profile since leaving office.

Bush plans to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 at ground zero in September, NBC reported.

It strikes me that both Presidents made the right decision here. President Obama’s magnanimity toward his predecessor, and President Bush’s decision to stay on the sidelines and let the nation see one President at a time.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Quick Takes, Terrorism, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. jwest says:

    Bush watched as Obama stood at the microphone taking cheap, classless shots at the conservative members of the Supreme Court, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump and decided he didn’t need to be the next victim of Obama’s “magnanimity”.

  2. jwest,

    If President Obama said the sky was blue you’d consider it part of his plot to destroy America, wouldn’t you?

    Pretty sad

  3. jwest says:

    Doug,

    You only need to Google Obama’s inauguration speech to see the depths he sank to in his remarks. Bush maintained his dignity while Obama shamed himself and the country by exposing his lack of civility and maturity.

    Bush certainly made the right call in this instance.

  4. Derrick says:

    You only need to Google Obama’s inauguration speech to see the depths he sank to in his remarks. Bush maintained his dignity while Obama shamed himself and the country by exposing his lack of civility and maturity.

    You mean the same Bush who took numerous shots at his predecessor Clinton. Obama’s been far more gracious to Bush than Bush was to Clinton.

  5. sam says:

    Evidently there’s a direct line from Jay Tea’s ass to jwest’s brain.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    Sam, Doug, you wanna argue that Obama has NOT taken chances to cheap-shot his political opponents at times when he’s assured they won’t be able to respond, or even react? You wanna argue that after he does it, he’s actually defended and lauded by the mainstream press? And you wanna argue that, after doing it to the Supreme Court, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump (Ryan was actually there on Obama’s invitation), he wouldn’t do that to Bush?

    It’s his way. He’s a cheap-ass punk in that manner. And Bush was smart to deny him the chance to do it again.

    J.

  7. jwest says:

    I was going to argue with Jay Tea about the “cheap-ass punk” designator, initially thinking my standard “classless incompetent poser” was better.

    However, now that I see how it flows in a sentence, I’m warming up to it.

  8. sam says:

    “Sam, Doug, you wanna argue that Obama has NOT taken chances to cheap-shot his political opponents at times when he’s assured they won’t be able to respond, or even react?”

    Don’t be a dope like your acolyte jwest. Even if there is some merit in what you say (although you seem to be clueless about what goes on at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner), are you really asking us to believe that Obama would trash Bush at Ground Zero? At a place a place hallowed by the deaths of thousands of Americans? If so, then your cynicism is malignant.

  9. sam says:

    Oh, and Trump was invited by the Washington Post, not Obama.

  10. jwest says:

    Sam,

    You seem to be the one confused about what goes on at White House Correspondent’s Dinners.

    Traditionally, the event is used to mildly roast the president and speak truth to power through humor. The president normally uses self-depreciating humor to show he has a sense of humility and good nature.

    Not in the case of Barack Obama. He used the podium to attack a private citizen in the audience who had no way of defending himself. Quite a show of classless arrogance. As to what the chances were that Obama would use the Ground Zero site to take cheap shots at Bush, I can assure you the answer is 100%.

  11. Jay Tea says:

    Sam, prior to Obama, the president was the main target of the humor — and played along. Now, Obama picks the target, and everyone else piles on. And in this case, the Post made it known that Trump would be there as their guest.

    Real classy of all concerned, to crap on a guy who would not have an opportunity to defend himself or respond in any fashion.

    Just like Obama did to Ryan.

    Just like Obama did to the Supreme Court.

    Just like Obama won’t have the chance to do to Bush.

    J.

  12. sam says:

    I see jewst is still playing Charlie McCarthy (more accurately, Mortimer Snerd) to your Edgar Bergen. Like I said, malignant cynicism.

  13. Jay Tea says:

    Yes, Sam, I do find it slightly irritating that either I paraphrase jwest’s statements or he paraphrases mine.

    But not as irritating as you do, as it’s all you can talk about — instead of actually addressing the points we’re raising. Nice variant on the “hey, look over there!” gambit.

    And I can’t blame you — there really isn’t anything you CAN say to defend the cheap-ass punk we have as Commander In Chief, so no wonder you want to talk about anything BUT the topic at hand.

    Which, come to think of it, also fits the “cheap-ass punk” label quite nicely, too.

    J.

  14. Drew says:

    I think Bush’s decision on the invitation is consistent with his low key posture since leaving office and should not be surprising to anyone. That’s simply a personal choice. As for what Obama might say or not say at the event is just speculation.

    However, the notion that Obama has not previously shown a thin skin and propensity for cheesy pot shots is just having your head up, er, in the sand.

  15. Scott O. says:

    Aren’t there any grownup conservatives that visit this site?

  16. Jay Tea says:

    Scott O.: significantly more than grownup liberals who infest it.

    J.

  17. Scott O. says:

    Then I guess they don’t leave comments.

  18. sam says:

    BTW Jay, I meant to ask you: In view of the demise of OBL, are you going to revise your Obama-wants-to-get-impeached-so-he-can-stay in office/leave office “theory”?

  19. Herb says:

    “He used the podium to attack a private citizen in the audience who had no way of defending himself.”

    HAHAHA. Sorry, I don’t mean to laugh so hard, but really? No doubt Obama is ruthless, but he didn’t “attack a private citizen” or any of that BS at he dinner. He dispatched a political rival who had been spreading false, nearly libelous rumors about him for months.

    It’s politics. Not beanbag.

  20. Pug says:

    It’s strange how bitterly right wingers have reacted to the killing of Osama bin Laden. The massive case of sour grapes really doesn’t look good.

    Donald Trump is now just an innocent “private citizen”? Where do these people come from?

  21. Jay Tea says:

    Sam, that theory of mine was pretty much the only way to explain all the amazingly disparate positions and actions Obama has taken. As crazy as it is, it’s still the least crazy.

    And his handling of the Bin Laden situation fits in. How else should Dennis Kucinich and the rest of the far left react to the extralegal targeted killing — the assassination — of a foreign national, carried out within the borders of a sovereign nation without their knowledge or consent, without the benefit of a warrant or any other legal document authorizing his death, other than by calling for his impeachment?

    And I see no one STILL wants to argue that Obama isn’t a master of the cheap-ass punk shots, or that he wouldn’t do it to Bush if given the chance.

    J.

  22. sam says:

    Jesus, you get more analcephalic as this thread goes on. Now Obama offed OBL because he wants to get impeached.

  23. Jay Tea says:

    sam, it ain’t my fault that your side is the one with the insane troll logic. I’m just trying to piece it all together.

    Oh, dammit, I forgot the fundamental rule of liberal logic: things that are heinous crimes against humanity when committed by Republicans are worthy of high praise when committed by Democrats.

    J.

  24. Socrates says:

    Only in a right-wing fever-swamp mind would making jokes about a deviant who has questioned your loyalty, achievements, motivations, who in fact seems to think your entire life is some kind of fraud, only in your demented conservative Obama-hatred dreamworld would this be considered “taking cheap shots”.

  25. mantis says:

    Jay Tea lecturing people on class! Hilarious!

  26. mantis says:

    Real classy of all concerned, to crap on a guy who would not have an opportunity to defend himself or respond in any fashion.

    Leave Trump alone!

    Jay Tea sure does love his pathetic birther heroes, and his single-helix racist shitbird friends like jwest and Southern Hoosier, doesn’t he? But, you know, he’s not a birther. He thinks they’re crazy. But don’t you dare make fun of them.

  27. mantis says:

    By the way, this is the same Jay Tea who whined for years about the disrespect for the president from the left during the Bush administration. I think we know who the cheap ass punk is.

  28. mantis says:

    And I see no one STILL wants to argue that Obama isn’t a master of the cheap-ass punk shots, or that he wouldn’t do it to Bush if given the chance.

    He’s not, and he wouldn’t. And sam already argued that. You very well know that the president would not criticize Bush at ground zero. But you are forced to spread the bullshit. That’s what you do. That’s all you do.

  29. Ben says:

    After the vile, slanderous BS that Trump has spread and campaigned on against Obama, NOTHING Obama could have said about Trump could be considered a “cheap-shot”.

  30. jwest says:

    Socrates,

    In some ways I can see how you would think that those of us on the right are overreacting to Obama, but the reason is that we have taken the time to learn about his past. Most people can be excused for not knowing anything of the pre-presidential days of Barack Obama, as he was never vetted by the press and what little that did leak out was quickly suppressed.

    The fact is the pattern of using low-class thug tactics is a trademark for Obama. He was a third-rate candidate in the democrat primary for senator in Illinois when David Axelrod, Obama’s buttboy “worked aggressively behind the scenes” pushing the story that front runner Blair Hull was a wife-beater. Axelrod’s former employer, the Chicago Tribune, hammered Hull relentlessly until sealed divorce papers were revealed. By the time the truth came out, his reputation was destroyed.

    Next, Obama needed to face the republican candidate Jack Ryan. Ryan was a graduate of Dartmouth, Harvard Law and Harvard Business School. He had made hundreds of millions by his early forties but had returned to Chicago to teach in an inner-city school on the South Side. Obama sent his attack dogs to Los Angeles to use a democrat-friendly judge to unseal the child custody battle he had with his ex-wife Jeri Lynn Ryan, the Star Trek: Voyager star. Although the allegations that Ryan had once went to a “sex club” with his wife were later shown to be exaggerated, the damage was done and Obama won the election. Typical of the “Chicago Way” and the classless thugs who employ it.

    Once people learn a bit about Obama, it turns their stomach that someone so devoid of integrity ended up in the White House.

  31. mantis says:

    In some ways I can see how you would think that those of us on the right are overreacting to Obama, but the reason is that we have taken the time to learn about his past fully believe every crazy thing said about him on wingnut blogs and radio stations.

    FTFY

  32. Jay Tea says:

    Denial. It’s so much fun to watch in action.

    State of the Union address: Obama slams the Supreme Court, deliberately misstating (that’s a polite term for “lying”) the facts of the case — and all the criticism focuses on one Supreme Court justice who, stunned, murmurs (accurately) “that’s not true.”

    April, 2011 — Obama invites a bunch of Republicans to a speech he intends to give on the debt and teh budget. He puts them in the front row, singles them out and has them stand, then trash-talks them and their plan, knowing that they will not breach decorum and respond — especially after the “you lie!” incident in the House with Joe Wilson (who, like Justice Alito, was slammed for speaking the truth).

    April 2011 — at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a traditional venue for folks to take shots at the president and the president to show that he can tell — and take — a joke (remember Steven Colbert at that event a few years ago? The left thought he was BRILLIANT!!!!), the president and the attendees call a truce and join forces to sandbag Donald Trump, piling on him in a venue where he will NOT be allowed to take the dais and fire back a bit.

    I apologize for calling it “punk-ass.” “Chickenshit” would be a better description.

    And anyone who says that it would be inconceivable for Obama to NOT pull the same stunt on Bush is utterly delusional.

    J.

  33. mantis says:

    State of the Union address: Obama slams the Supreme Court, deliberately misstating (that’s a polite term for “lying”) the facts of the case

    He didn’t misstate the facts of the case.

    — and all the criticism focuses on one Supreme Court justice who, stunned, murmurs (accurately) “that’s not true.”

    There was plenty of criticism of Obama for that. You can pretend there wasn’t (that’s a polite term for lying), but there was.

    Obama invites a bunch of Republicans to a speech he intends to give on the debt and teh budget. He puts them in the front row, singles them out and has them stand, then trash-talks them and their plan, knowing that they will not breach decorum and respond — especially after the “you lie!” incident in the House with Joe Wilson (who, like Justice Alito, was slammed for speaking the truth).

    Yes, Obama did throw “death panels” and the other various and sundry lies the Republicans were spreading around. You seem to believe the president should simply acquiesce to everything Republicans want, and if he ever objects, that makes him a big meanie. What a tool you are.

    April 2011 — at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a traditional venue for folks to take shots at the president and the president to show that he can tell — and take — a joke (remember Steven Colbert at that event a few years ago? The left thought he was BRILLIANT!!!!), the president and the attendees call a truce and join forces to sandbag Donald Trump, piling on him in a venue where he will NOT be allowed to take the dais and fire back a bit.

    I’m sorry, where are the rules that state the WHCD can only be used to make fun of the president? I must have missed them. Also, please review all past dinners to confirm no one has ever made a joke about an attendee other than the president. Oh wait, that would involve you considering the facts, which are of course anathema to a lying hack like yourself.

    I apologize for calling it “punk-ass.” “Chickenshit” would be a better description.

    Write your autobiography some other time.

    And anyone who says that it would be inconceivable for Obama to NOT pull the same stunt on Bush is utterly delusional.

    You’re the expert on delusion.

  34. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, try to keep some consistency (that’s polite for “don’t lie” in the same comment.

    I said “traditional.” That usually means “not the rule.”

    I got no problem with Obama taking on the Republicans. He’s done it in the past. What I don’t respect is his doing it in ways they can’t answer.

    Obama said the Citizens United case would open up elections to foreign corporations donating money. That was patently false and untrue.

    I also forgot the case of Representative Hoekstra. He was attending an Obama event in his district when Obama made a point of cheap-shotting him by name, and Gibbs made sure after the event that everyone knew it was deliberate.

    Under Obama, the presidency has become a true “bully’s pulpit.”

    J.

  35. mantis says:

    I said “traditional.” That usually means “not the rule.”

    Did you go back and watch all the past dinners? Was anyone but the president the object of jokes? Back up your assertion, hack.

    I got no problem with Obama taking on the Republicans. He’s done it in the past. What I don’t respect is his doing it in ways they can’t answer.

    They can answer all they want. Your premise is flawed.

    Obama said the Citizens United case would open up elections to foreign corporations donating money. That was patently false and untrue.

    Companies headquartered in the United States but owned by foreigners can indeed spend money on political campaigns under the ruling. Foreign-owned corporations are foreign corporations as far as I’m concerned. So, no, it was neither false or untrue (pick one).

    I also forgot the case of Representative Hoekstra. He was attending an Obama event in his district when Obama made a point of cheap-shotting him by name, and Gibbs made sure after the event that everyone knew it was deliberate.

    You mean after Hoekstra spent months and months publicly deriding the stimulus yet taking credit for it at home? Hoekstra made his own hypocritical cheapshots. Obama responded. If that hurts Rep. Hoekstra’s feelings (and yours), perhaps politics is not the area in which people with such delicate feelings should be involved.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    The president normally uses self-depreciating humor to show he has a sense of humility and good nature.

    That must have been what Bush thought he was doing when he had his little slide show about looking for WMD…

    Denial. It’s so much fun to watch in action.

    Indeed, like you simultaneously pushing birther arguments but telling us how you supposedly eat birthers for breakfast…

  37. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, you keep missing my point. And you’re too intelligent to do so by accident.

    It’s not that Obama goes after his political opponents. It’s that he has a major tendency to do so in times and places where he knows they will not be able to fight back.

    Once, you can dismiss as ignorance. Twice, carelessness. But with him, it’s a pattern. It’s a modus operandi.

    It would be like me banning you as a commenter at Wizbang, then writing post after post defaming you — and occasionally out-and-out lying about you. You would have no opportunity to respond.

    I wouldn’t do that. I haven’t done that. I won’t do that. Because it’s a chickenshit move.

    To Obama, however, it’s just the way he rolls.

    Interested, I cringed at that video — but at its core, Bush was mocking himself. And even better, the time he had a Bush impersonator right there beside him, presenting his “inner monologue.” It was frigging hysterical, and Bush was making himself the butt of the joke.

    Obama? “Hey, Donald Trump’s gonna be there, and the SOB won’t be able to speak. Let me dump all over him, get the SNL guy to dump all over him, and let’s watch while he has to sit there and take it.”

    That’s how he rolls.

    J.

  38. Jay Tea says:

    Crap, wrong Bush link. Try this one. Sorry…

    J.

  39. mantis says:

    It’s not that Obama goes after his political opponents. It’s that he has a major tendency to do so in times and places where he knows they will not be able to fight back.

    All politicians criticize opponents in times and places where the opponents will not be able to fight back. They do it in speeches at rallies, they do it in campaign commercials, they do it in interviews. You seem to believe that it’s wrong for the president to respond to his critics in anything but moderated debates. I would say you’re too intelligent to seriously advance such an argument, but honestly I wonder if that’s true.

    Once, you can dismiss as ignorance. Twice, carelessness. But with him, it’s a pattern. It’s a modus operandi.

    No, your argument is based on an absurd premise. I’ll reject that premise every time. It’s not a modus operandi. It’s just a recognition of reality.

    It would be like me banning you as a commenter at Wizbang, then writing post after post defaming you — and occasionally out-and-out lying about you. You would have no opportunity to respond.

    Sure I would. The Internet is a big place. I could have my own blog if I wanted.

    I wouldn’t do that. I haven’t done that. I won’t do that. Because it’s a chickenshit move.

    Actually, you did exactly that to Lee Ward. I’m not criticizing you for it, mind you. It’s your blog; you can run it how you like and it’s not your responsibility to provide him with a forum, even if you are attacking him. But you’re lying when you say you haven’t and wouldn’t do it. You have and would.

    Obama? “Hey, Donald Trump’s gonna be there, and the SOB won’t be able to speak. Let me dump all over him, get the SNL guy to dump all over him, and let’s watch while he has to sit there and take it.”

    Crocodile tears for Donald Trump are amusing and all, and pretending he doesn’t have his own forums to launch attacks with no opportunity for the targets to respond is just stupid. However, assuming that Obama dictated Seth Meyers’ performance is just ridiculous. But hey, ridiculous assertions and lies are all you have. That’s how you roll.

  40. Bleev K says:

    Obama? “Hey, Donald Trump’s gonna be there, and the SOB won’t be able to speak. Let me dump all over him, get the SNL guy to dump all over him, and let’s watch while he has to sit there and take it.”

    Jay, do you realize how pathetic you are?

  41. Jay Tea says:

    actually, mantis, I try not to talk about Lee Ward. But it’s worth noting that I believe he just got banned for the fourth time (I think) from Wizbang. (Long story, still not nailed down, but damned likely.)

    And as I say, it’s not slamming his critics. It’s that he does it where they have to sit there and take it, and can’t defend themselves. Sure, they have their own ways of responding, but there’s something grotesquely unfair about insulting someone to their face when you KNOW they can’t react or respond — and, in some cases, because you engineered it that way.

    I don’t think you’d do that, either. But then again, I’ve spent a long, long time overestimating you and giving you too much credit for things; I could be wrong.

    J.

  42. mantis says:

    Essentially Jay, your position is that all political attacks are fine, except those engaged in by the Democratic President. You fine-tune your definition of “cheapshot” so it only can only apply to President Obama. Cute, but uber-hacky of you.

  43. An Interested Party says:

    Interested, I cringed at that video — but at its core, Bush was mocking himself.

    Considering how many people died because of those phantom WMD, Bush deserved far worse than to simply mock himself…

    Sure, they have their own ways of responding, but there’s something grotesquely unfair about insulting someone to their face when you KNOW they can’t react or respond — and, in some cases, because you engineered it that way.

    Oh, that would be like how grotesquely unfair it is to question someone’s place of birth, qualifications for office, and academic career without one shred of evidence to support the innuendo of the questions…