May 4th, 2011
11:05 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Call it a rejection, a slight, or just a polite 'no thanks,' but former President George W. Bush will not be appearing alongside his successor, President Barack Obama, at an appearance at Ground Zero Thursday marking the death of Osama bin Laden.
Two days after the White House announced Obama would travel to the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, members of the press received a statement from a spokesman for the former president, saying Bush would not be in attendance.
"He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," spokesman David Sherzer wrote.
A senior White House official confirmed Bush #43 was, in fact, invited, and that he was "not able to come." The official added, "Which, of course, we understand."
The potential snub from Bush comes just after the president told a bipartisan Congressional dinner Monday that bin Laden's death has united the country, much like it was in the days and weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
But it's Obama, many Republicans believe, who is the snubber, noting that the president didn't mention Bush in his remarks to the nation Sunday announcing bin Laden's demise.
"There are people around President Bush who are irritated and sore that they're not getting more credit for what they did in years past," CNN political analyst David Gergen said Wednesday. But he quickly added, "But I don't think that's what motivates President Bush."
Rather, Gergen thinks the Bushes "have an old fashioned view that we only have one president at a time and former presidents should essentially stay in the shadows and not be second guessing."
So is it much ado about nothing? We might never know.