(CNN) - Former President George Bush has declined an invite to join President Obama at Ground Zero Thursday to mark the death of Osama bin Laden.
The former president instead wishes to remain out of the spotlight, according to a Bush spokesman.
“President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday. He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight,” said spokesman David Sherzer. “He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”
Obama’s visit to the primary target of the 9/11 attacks will come four days after he announced bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Obama will also meet with families who lost relatives during the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
A senior Obama administration official added to CNN that Bush "was invited but is not able to come. Which we of course understand."
Bush’s decision not to attend the ceremony comes amid statements from several of his administrations top officials that the former president deserves significant praise for the capture of bin Laden.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld applauded the successful mission Tuesday, but also highlighted the pivotal role their team played in the search for America's most wanted terrorist.
"It was also important that President Bush put in place counterterrorism strategies and policies, efforts that the military and intelligence have been making over the years," Rice told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday. "To work together better to achieve that kind of level of integration didn't happen yesterday. This is something that has been happening for quite a long time."
In a separate CNN interview on Tuesday, Rumsfeld praised the former president’s controversial decision to imprison several low-level Al Qaeda officials.
"It is those people that know the habits and locations of the senior people. It is a good thing that the people were held and that there were interrogations," Rumsfeld said. "That information was patched together over a period of time."
A recent Washington Post pew poll suggests Americans are giving more credit to President Obama than Bush for the killing of the most sought after terrorist
More than three out of four Americans said Obama deserves a great deal or “some” credit while 51 percent said the same about Bush.
Bush is expected to attend a ceremony at Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Classy move by President Obama to extend the invitation. Classy move by President Bush to decline.
If it was not for President Bush did could not have happened. Thank you George Bush for helping President Obama in making this happen.
Wasn't "W" who said we want bin Laden "dead or alive"!! now his dream has come true and he doesn't want to celebrate with others?
Bush declined when he found out that he wouldn't be allowed to wear a flight suit and arrive aboard a fighter jet with a "Mission Accomplished" banner flying in the breeze.