George H.W. Bush, Barbara to skip GOP convention

July 17, 2012 - 11:44 AM
Bush 41 GOP Convention

FILE - In this May 31, 2012 file photo, former President George H.W. Bush, left, and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, arrive in the East Room of the White House in Washington, for a ceremony to unveil the official portrait of their son former President George W. Bush. Bush and his wife Barbara won't be attending the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa because of health reasons. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

HOUSTON (AP) — A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, will skip the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa, Fla., because of health reasons.

The spokesman, Jim McGrath, says it will be the first time since 1976, when Bush was director of the CIA and refrained from partisan activities, that he won't attend the Republican Party gathering.

The 88-year-old Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease that afflicts his legs. He now gets around using a wheelchair or motorized scooter.

McGrath said Tuesday that the situation surrounding Bush's mobility will keep the couple from attending the late August convention.

Bush and his wife have endorsed Mitt Romney, the expected GOP presidential nominee.