Former President George W. Bush has turned down President Obama's invitation to join him at Ground Zero on Thursday, and the reasons for doing so are starting to emerge. Apparently, Bush is upset about not getting enough credit in the War on Terror.
A person described by the New York Daily News as "a highly-placed source" told the newspaper, "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.
"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, "[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap."
Another source told the News that while Bush doesn't think Obama wanted to exploit his presence, it "was for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it."
Bush spokesman David Sherzer said Bush "appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight."
Speaking about it on Thursday, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said, "This is a moment of unity for Americans and a moment to recall the unity that existed in this country in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. We completely understand that he's not able to come, but... the invitation was made in that spirit."
Obama called Bush Sunday after the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden was complete. The president mentioned Bush in passing during his speech later that night.
For his part, Bush issued a statement calling the death of Bin Laden "a momentous achievement."
The statement continued:
"I congratulated him (Obama) and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission."
Had Bush accepted the invitation, it would have been a return to the high point of his presidency. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Bush stood on a pile of rubble and ad-libbed an emotional speech, with a New York City firefighter standing by his side.