, MANCHESTER, Jan 6 – Former president George W. Bush has decided not to “wade into the swamp” of the Republican presidential primary battle but will support the winner, a well-placed source said on Thursday.
“He has decided not to ‘wade into the swamp,'” according to a source familiar with the Republican president’s thinking, who described Bush’s decision on condition of anonymity.
“He’ll of course support the GOP nominee, but doesn’t really care to weigh in. He likes following politics but doesn’t feel the need to be out there ‘opining, bloviating.’ It’s just not him,” the source told AFP.
Bush handed President Barack Obama the keys to the White House three years ago this month after serving two terms but has kept a strikingly low profile as Republicans battle over who will take on the embattled Democrat in November.
Bush’s father, former president George H. W. Bush, has praised former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, while his Democratic successor, Bill Clinton, has publicly made the case for Obama’s re-election.
Democratic former president Jimmy Carter has said he hopes that Romney will win the Republican nomination – but only because he believes the millionaire venture capitalist would lose to Obama.
The Republican candidates over the past year have claimed to be heirs to conservative icon Ronald Reagan, or invoked leaders like “Iron Lady” former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher as their role models.
But Bush – who left office with a low approval rating amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s – has rarely been mentioned by the candidates.