George W. Bush will skip GOP convention

Former President George W. Bush won't be attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.

Freddy Ford, a spokesman for the former president, confirmed in a statement to The Hill that, although Bush supports presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, he won't be attending the gathering, which goes from Aug. 27-30.

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"President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention," Ford said. "He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. "

He added, "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."

Bush's decision means Team Romney won't have to decide the best way to present the former president, who remains a controversial figure. Democrats have pushed to tie Romney to Bush's policies, and the former president's decision not to attend will deny them any kind of footage to use in ads or other campaign materials.

It also frees up a night of prime time for the party. Former presidents traditionally get a prime-time speaking spot on one of the four nights of the convention.

Last week, a spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush told The Hill that the 41st president also would not be attending, citing health reasons.