George W. Bush won't be at Ground Zero with President Obama Thursday in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.
"[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap," a highly-placed source told the Daily News Wednesday.
Bush's visit to the rubble after the 9/11 attacks was the emotional high point of his presidency, but associates say the invitation to return with his successor was a non-starter.
"He doesn't feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama's claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it," the source added.
"Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way."
So now it's time for Obama to give credit to Bush for things that happen during Obama's watch. Now it's time to acknowledge that even out of office, Bush's presidency continues to impact what happens. Now it's time to look back. Funny, that's not what Republicans have been telling us for the past three years.
Like Mike Huckabee:
There’s one thing though that Biden and President Obama have got to get under control. And that is quit blaming George Bush. George Bush inherited an economy when he became president back in 2001 that was already beginning to show real signs of the stress from the breaking of the technology bubble. George Bush didn’t go out whining and complaining every day, he stood up like the president of the United States and he worked on trying to get it fixed.
Then 2001, 9/11 came, things really went tough, but he worked on the economy and it was in much better shape for most of his presidency. Then the recession started, wasn’t totally his fault for sure and all you hear from Joe Biden and President Obama is how, how terrible it was, what they inherited, how it wasn’t their fault. No, look, you own it now. You got elected, you wanted the job. Stand up and take it and get this thing rolling. But quit spending money.
And former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon:
The blame game is over. Voters want the president to be a leader who accepts responsibility, who looks ahead. They don’t want the leader of the free world looking backwards and blaming others. It makes the president look small. Too small for a big office.
And Dana Perino, who insisted that Obama should stop talking about Bush because Bush has been so gosh darned gracious:
Look, I think the other thing that you've seen is that President Bush has been an incredibly gracious post-president during the transition, and he said, 'President Obama deserves my silence.' and I would daresay that he deserves a lot more respect than he's getting right now.
And Bush's brother, Jeb:
It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, "The dog ate my homework,"... It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.
But now it's time for Obama to be childish and immature, start blaming Bush, look backward, and stop accepting responsibility. Now it's time for Obama to give Bush the full credit he deserves for, um, shutting down the CIA unit that was devoted to "hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants" in 2006 because capturing bin Laden was "not a top priority use of American resources" and Bush was "truly...not that concerned about him."
And Republicans want us to know, and want the current president to acknowledge, that it's only because of Bush's lack of concern that Obama succeeded where Bush failed.
This morning, in the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin heaped praise on Bush because he "has stuck to his position that we have 'one president at a time' and avoided commenting on issues, even when his team was falsely and unjustly accused of betraying American values." And then she stroked him some more:
But in not appearing at Ground Zero, Bush shows uncommon grace. (His spokesman explained that Bush “appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight.”) And he also shows supreme confidence that his decisions were the right ones and that fair-minded people in the future will appreciate this. Grace and confidence. Are there any other qualities that better define the 43rd president?
Nope. Bush isn't showing uncommon grace. Or confidence. He's just stamping his feet like the petty, petulant five-year-old he's always been.