George W. Bush Skipping Republican Convention

That sound you hear is a massive sigh of relief from the Romney campaign:

Former President George W. Bush will not attend the Republican convention next month in Tampa, POLITICO has learned.

“President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention,” Bush spokesman Freddy Ford wrote in an e-mail.  “He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great President. But he’s still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa.”

Asked if the former president had been invited to only attend or whether he was also asked to speak, Ford said the conversation didn’t get that far and the former president declined “before details were discussed.”

Bush’s preemptive move spares Romney of having to face the delicate question of whether to have the polarizing former president address the convention.  It is customary for former presidents to attend the party gatherings, and often speak, but President Obama’s campaign surely would have used the opportunity to link Romney to the Bush administration.

Since leaving the White House in 2009, the 43rd president has kept a low profile and, in rare interviews, said he doesn’t think former presidents ought to be in critiquing their successors.

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush had previously announced that he would not be attending the convention, although that’s likely more because of his age and the fact that he doesn’t get around quite as well as he used to. In W’s case, though, one imagines that the Romney camp is quite happy to as few reminders of the last Republican President as possible.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. My wife said, “Why shouldn’t he go?” I ticked off the number of things that would be mentioned: Katrina, the 2000 election, WMDs, a “crusade”, Dick Cheny, “Bush lied, people died”, Nook-u-ler, the Patriot Act, and Strategery. Fair or not, these things would bubble up. Wise decision…remember, he did not attend 2008 convention, either (thanks to a threatening hurricane which gave everyone an excuse to cancel the first day).

  2. walt moffett says:

    Is anyone going to either of the conventions? The list keeps getting longer.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Unless you need to go – as a resume builder, career ambition, etc – why would you go?

    It’s a lot like NFL Football; it’s made for television. Being there means you sit next to loud drunks who hassle people from beginning to end.

  4. al-Ameda,

    You don’t like the video. I get that. But arguing that’s its racist is insane.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You don’t like the video. I get that. But arguing that’s its racist is insane.

    I did not think the video was racist, nor do I think the political convention that Bush will not attend will be racist.

  6. James in LA says:

    George W. Kryptonite still haunts the GOP, and will continue to do for some time. He creates an 8-year vacuum about which we must not write, speak, or even think about at length, a timeless torturous period absent any GOP governing achievements whatsoever, robbing Mitt Romney of anything substantive on which to run.

    They got Pinochet and Milosevic ‘ere the end.

  7. eric_d78 says:

    Still waiting for Republican plans to pay for Bush-era policies.

    Bush tax-cuts, homeland security, two wars, Medicare D, and NCLB. Just wondering if in the party platform their will be a section on fiscal conservatism and the need to pay for the policies conservatives back?