George H.W. Bush will not attend GOP convention due to health reasons
July 16th, 2012
08:59 PM ET
10 years ago

George H.W. Bush will not attend GOP convention due to health reasons

Washington (CNN) - President George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife Barbara will not be attending the Republican National Convention this August in Tampa, his spokesman confirmed Monday.

Bush, 88, is confined to a wheelchair due to a disease that limits his mobility and ability to travel from his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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"President and Mrs. Bush are more convinced today than ever that we need to get behind Mitt and Ann Romney to help turn this country around, but sadly the situation around President Bush's mobility will prevent them from attending the Tampa Convention," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

Bush, who was elected president in 1988, has attended every convention since 1980, when he was tapped to be Ronald Reagan's running mate. In 1984 he stayed on the ticket with Reagan as they won re-election.

The former president described his condition to Parade Magazine for an article published this past weekend.

"They call it vascular Parkinsonism. It just affects the legs. It's not painful. You tell your legs to move, and they don't move. It's stranger, but if you have to have some bad-sounding disease, this is a good one to get," he said.

Asked if it was hard to accept, he said: "It's hard, because I love being active, (playing) sports, being in the game…But you just face the reality and make the best of it."

The elder Bush, who earlier had served as head of the Republican National Committee, did not attend the 1976 convention because he was head of the Central Intelligence Agency at that time.

Romney met the Bushes at the former president’s Houston office in March during the height of the Republican primary contest. Bush told reporters at the time "we're so convinced…that he's the man to do this job and get on and win the presidency."

At least one of Bush's children will be in Tampa. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is headlining a fund-raiser for Romney Tuesday in Indiana, will be attending the Republican convention, according to the former governor’s spokeswoman.

A spokesman for former President George W. Bush did not return a request for comment on his plans regarding the convention.

The Hill newspaper first reported the news regarding President George H.W. Bush's decision.

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Sorry to hear about #41 and his health.
    I wonder why #43 won't be at the convention. jeb is not a big deal anymore. One too many bushes in or near the WH.

    July 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. sick of republican phonies

    Maybe they can get a life-size cardboard cutout of GWB; it would be more real than the rest of the posturing phonies that currently make up the republican party. None of the current batch of ideological idiots can match GWB in stature, patriotism, intelligence, and I could go on and on.

    July 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. sick of republican phonies

    I wonder where their gonna hide George junior...gotta keep him under wraps, don't want to remind the American public of who got us into the mess we're in today.

    July 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. gwats

    George Knows a 'dead fish' (Romney) when he smells one. I find myself liking him more and more every year. He's a man of integrity and honor, miles above his offspring and their slimy handlers. I'm a Dem, by the way. Be well, George.

    July 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. PJ/TX

    Bless his heart. i really like GHW and Barbara Bush. I respect and trust them, which is more than I can say for anyone
    else in the Republican Party.

    July 16, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. Has Mittens "RETROACTIVELY RETIRED" as the GOVERNOR of MA back to before he signed ROMNEYCARE???

    Well, anything is better than the tired and trite, "spend more time with the family" excuse.

    Looks like the RNC has decided any one in a wheel chair, need not attend.

    Hmm, are "death panels" next?

    July 16, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. MaryM

    I hope he gets better soon

    July 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. Cooper

    So sorry to hear of the health issues former President Bush is currently experiencing. I always enjoy seeing them at the Baseball games in Houston. Best wishes to Mr. Bush and Barbara.

    July 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. ted

    I feel bad for George HW Bush. Even though I did not vote for him, he is a gentleman and a scholar. He has risen above the party politics and theatrics and is an international statesman.

    July 16, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. You Heard it worst on CNN

    Republican convention? What a joke. I guess the neo cons and the the establishment GOP can all have a grand ball and celebrate how they let Romney buy off the primary. I wonder how long it will take for them to realize they just handed this election to Obama. I guess the so called republicans are as fond of communism as the Obama democrats are these days.

    July 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. clarke

    I am sorry he is not well. Best wishes.

    July 16, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  12. Colorado for ROMNEY

    One step closer to DESTINY george, one foot in the grave, one in the lake of fire

    July 16, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. PTBarnumboy

    The real question is would he go even if he could?

    July 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  14. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yeah the thought of attending his once proud party's convention now probably makes him sick!

    July 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. Larry L

    He's one of the last of the compassionate conservatives. He could never be one of the clown car riders like Romney – a pitiful example of a candidate.

    July 16, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  16. Your Panties

    It's all okay. Mr. Romney can lose the election without President Bush's help.

    July 16, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. judith

    I'm sure is woefully incompetent war criminal son won't there either; nor will the venal agent of Satan, Dick Cheney.

    July 16, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. BeverlyNC

    Although a staunch Democrat, I have always admired and respected George Bush Sr. He is a statesman, a leader, a man with character, integrity, honor, dignity, and he should have 2 terms vs. his son. I wish him the best. He is what the Republican Party needs to return to if they ever expect the People to trust them or vote for them again. Watch the HBO Special "41" about the life of George Sr. It's excellent and shows how far off the cliff Republicans have gone.

    July 16, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  19. ObamaCares

    And George W. is not going to attend for ---- reason.(Fill in the blank).

    July 16, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He wasn't my favorite president, but I hope that he feels better soon. Besides, if he were a candidate now, he'd be laughed out of the party.

    July 16, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Although I am an Obama supporter this time around....I have to say that I love that man. His son is half of what his dad represents. This is a great man!

    July 16, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  22. Thomas

    All the best to President George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife Barbara .

    They served our country , he fought for our country, I be leave they are good people .

    I still wouldn't got for him , however I respect him.

    Republicans of a different era of understanding.

    July 17, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  23. Larry

    Lets be honest here he sees romney and the other nut balls that ran and thinks what the hell happened to the republican party?! They refuse to compromise and only want things there way and are generally clueless. He wants nothing to do with them. too bad he cant run again he was the last republican worth more than a pile of dog poop

    July 17, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  24. Don

    President Bush. "the last great republican". Get well soon Mr President.

    July 17, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |