DALLAS — Former President George W. Bush decided not to join President Barack Obama at a Thursday ceremony at ground zero because he feels that acting presidents alone should preside over such official ceremonies, the former first lady said.
Laura Bush told The Associated Press on Thursday that she and her husband were out to dinner Sunday night when they received word that Obama wanted to speak with him. The former president went home to take the call informing him that U.S. military forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a raid of his compound in Pakistan, Laura Bush said.
The former first lady told the AP that her husband declined an invitation to attend Thursday's event in New York because "that's for President Obama to do at this point."
She said she and her husband both felt great pride for military and intelligence personnel after hearing the news.
"It was risky and it was dangerous for our members of the military," Laura Bush said at a Dallas elementary school where she announced grants from her foundation for school libraries.
The former president congratulated Obama and military and intelligence personnel in a statement Sunday night.
He was in power on Sept. 11, 2001, when agents from bin Laden's al-Qaida network hijacked planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing nearly 3,000 people in the worst terrorist attack on American soil.
Bush sent U.S. forces against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan in October 2001.
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