Former President George W. Bush to skip Republican Convention

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jul 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-20 17:43:19-04

By Kevin Bohn, CNN Senior Producer

(CNN) – Former President George W. Bush has decided he is not going to next month’s Republican Convention.

“President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention. 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,” his spokesman Freddy Ford told CNN after inquiries about his plans.

Since leaving office in 2009, the former president has tried to stay away from partisan politics.

In an interview this week with the conservative Hoover Institute the former president said “Eight years was awesome, and I was famous and I was powerful. But I have no desire for fame and power anymore.”

He also said he thought it was not good for former presidents to be part of the political conversation. “I don’t want to undermine our president – whoever’s president – and a former president can do that…Either you’re in or out of politics…you can’t be that halfway.”

Bush is still an unpopular figure with many Americans. In a May 29-31 CNN/ORC Poll 43% of those polled say they had a favorable opinion of the former president while 54% said they had an unfavorable one.

Eighty-one percent of those polled in a July 11-16 CBS/New York Times survey said the former president contributed some or a lot to the nation’s economic downturn (48% said a lot while 33% said some).

Last week Bush’s father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush’s office announced earlier this week he and his wife Barbara would not be attending the convention because his mobility is limited by a disease called vascular Parkinsonism that makes it hard for him to travel.

Former President Jeb Bush will be attending the convention.