Bush declines Obama invite to Ground Zero
May 4th, 2011
08:35 AM ET
10 years ago

Bush declines Obama invite to Ground Zero

(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.

Filed under: President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Consider This...

    I'd stay out of sight too, if I'd done to this country what he and sidekicks did.

    May 4, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. jrm03063

    Shall we now hear from the Conservatives who have been claiming (dishonestly) that Obama has not been appreciative of the efforts of former president Bush?

    May 4, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. s

    Bush declined because he wanted to stay out of the spotlight? Enough lies already, we all know the real reason.

    May 4, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Nothing new here

    That is President Bush's perogative.
    I just thank our current President for bringing this madman bin Laden to justice.
    Thank you President Obama!!

    May 4, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Steve (the real one) in Arizona

    I am not surprised. Going back to Ground Zero would remind the world that it was during HIS presidency that 9/11 happened. It will remind the world of the useless and senseless war he started in Iraq that accomplished nothing. But most of all, he would be sharing the stage with the man who finally killed bin Laden.

    Dubya. Worst President Ever.

    May 4, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. ja

    with all due respect, he will not be missed

    May 4, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lest we forget, having Bush standing at Ground Zero would serve to further remind the country that he compounded the carnage of 9/11 by sending military personnel to their unnecesary death in IRAQ. Are we going to conveniently forget that ivilians as well as military died in that HUGE mistake of a war for NO REASON???
    No. Bush needs to stay away from the limelight ESPECIALLY during this time.
    Additionally standing in close proximity to President Obama, especialy if W speaks, would only serve to glaringly highlight the fact that The Shrub has been and continues to be INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED.

    May 4, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. Rsprings

    Bush is a classy guy. He does deserve credit for setting up the apparatus that finally led the US to Bin Laden. The US will be relentless in it's efforts to stop terrorists.

    May 4, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. Truth

    The current Republican leaders could learn a few things from Mr.Bush.
    It's called self-respect and class.

    May 4, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Clwyd

    I would avoid the ceremony too since 9/11 happened on bush's watch and could only make him look worse than he already is after ruining our economy. Why else do you think he has been in hiding in Texas most of the time he has been our of office? Shame on this man!

    May 4, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. 12345

    I would want to be caught dead in the same ROOM as Obama. Good for George.

    May 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. bocat

    Bush may be embarrassed that bin ladin was not captured and killed on his watch. President Obama has such a powerful and confident aura, Bush knows that and after his rediculous cowboy "we'll get em, dead or alive", well I think he just cant stand to see how foolish he appeared, especially after the look on his face in the classroom reading to the children and he was told of the attack. Bush was just such a puffed up cowboy hero wannabee for his 2 term presidency, where he made so dang many mistakes and misspoke so many times, that he cant get that swagger he always had back. His fake confidence has deflated and and he just cant get it up anylonger. Im glad he wont be there, and I think the people dont want him there. Im so thankful bin ladin has been killed, and I dont really give a hoot what Bush thinks.

    May 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. Dave

    I'm glad he won't be there. Dumbya isn't fit to share the same stage with Obama and everyone knows it.

    May 4, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. WMesser58

    Why would you want a war criminal at a place that honors the death of a war criminal. bush has finally done the only thing I could ever give him credit for and that's staying out of the spotlight now if we could get the media to let sarah palin go.

    All would be right with the world.

    May 4, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Liberal4Obama

    He didn't do anything to capture or kill Bin Laden, in fact he said Bin Laden was not important. So he should stay in TX doing what he does best, nothing.

    May 4, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Dean

    Thank you President Bush. You show class in a time of crass politics.

    May 4, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. TomNH

    Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld produced nothing in 8 year except for their masturbatory experience in Iraq. They can certainly claim no credit whatsoever for the deminse OBL.

    May 4, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Bush will show up for the 10-year anniversary later this year.
    Cut Pres. Bush some slack, people. For now, this is Obama's moment.
    Obama was in the driver's seat and made "The Call", not Bush.

    May 4, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. herv

    George bush is ashamed of himself..he is very ashamed because he could not capture Bin Laden

    May 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. don

    I can't believe I'm going to say this but Bush is right. We should keep this low profile.

    May 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. Larry

    Let us never forget who was in charge of America's security the day those planes flew into the World Trade Center.

    May 4, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. HIH

    Say what you will President Bush has shown nothing but class since leaving office.

    May 4, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |

    this isn't surprising he barely showed up to work while he was in office why would he show his face now?

    May 4, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Sniffit

    It was gracious to offer and he probably would've been criticized for not trying to get Bush to come...but it's obviously no big deal that it turns out we don't have to look at Bush's silly moron face. Meh.

    May 4, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. munchmom

    I, for one, see that Mr. Bush has a great deal of class. He could go and stand next to Obama and brag about being there right after 9/11, but he isn't. He is allowing this so-called president to go and, as he has done before, be the glory hound that he is used to being. When you are always on the screen, always in campaign mode, and always wanting more spotlight, why would Mr. Bush want to lower himself to be on the same platform with Obama??? Good call, Mr. Bush. You are the best! (Bet you won't post this one, CNN)

    May 4, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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