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Bush out of sight, but his policies aren't

April 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Former President George W. Bush is content being out of the limelight as the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign chugs forward, a former adviser says.

"George W. Bush has never needed the mirror of politics to reflect who he is," former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon told Politico.

McKinnon said Bush as "at peace" with his life as it is, Politico reported Monday.

Bush's absence, however has been noticed as the Republican presidential primary presses forward, especially since father and former President George H.W. Bush and brother and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

A spokesman for the younger former president said Bush had "no plans to endorse, at least not at present."

"He is enjoying his life in Texas. He's not seeking the limelight. And he is really focused on the Bush Center," the spokesman said.

But just because Bush hasn't injected himself into campaign doesn't mean his name or his White House years haven't been invoked.

When Romney picked up Jeb Bush's backing, the former Massachusetts governor offered a defense of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the hugely unpopular bank bailout approved in the last months of Bush 43's presidency. GOP hopeful Rick Santorum has apologized for voting for Bush's "No Child Left Behind" when he represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate. Santorum also expressed ruing his vote on Bush's prescription drug plan, an entitlement program that has added to the national debt. And President Obama often speaks of the economic hard times he inherited when he took office in 2009.

Several of Bush's former aides told Politico that congressional Republicans have contributed to the tarring of Bush but time will vindicate him.

"That's been the case since they lost the House in 2006," said one ex-Bush aide who was not identified. "Besides, where were they when he wanted to tackle what they now say is critical to dealing with our long-term debt, entitlement spending? They were so far behind President Bush when he pushed Social Security reform you could barely make them out in the distance. But when Social Security is finally reformed, it will most likely resemble the proposal President Bush first laid out."

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