For the second time in a row, Republicans will not host their party’s last elected president at their national convention.
President George W. Bush will not attend the GOP convention in Tampa later this summer, TPM has confirmed. Bush joins his father, President George H.W. Bush, in skipping the event. The elder Bush said he could not attend because of health reasons; the younger said he wants to stay out of the political fray weeks before the general election.
“He supports Gov. Romney and wants him to succeed,” George W. Bush spokesperson Freddy Ford told Politico Friday in a statement confirmed by TPM. “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.”
Ford told TPM he “can’t speak for the rest of the family” when it comes to attending Mitt Romney’s official crowning as Republican presidential nominee. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is reportedly planning to be on hand for the convention.
George W. Bush is still a divisive figure in politics. Polls show voters still feel Bush’s policies are partially responsible for the state of the economy, and a June CNN survey found Bush to be the only living president with a favorable rating below 50 percent.
Bush skipped his party’s 2008 convention in Minnesota due to fear of a hurricane that was approaching the Gulf Coast. Both in 2008 and in 2012, his presence at the convention is viewed as a potential liability for the Republican nominee.