Bush declines Obama's invitation to "Ground Zero"

WASHINGTON Wed May 4, 2011 8:26am EDT

A woman pauses to look at newspapers left on a fence at the World Trade Center site in New York, May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A woman pauses to look at newspapers left on a fence at the World Trade Center site in New York, May 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President George W. Bush has declined an invitation from President Barack Obama to attend a New York ceremony on Thursday to mark the killing of Osama bin Laden, Bush's office said.

"He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," said Bush spokesman David Sherzer.

Obama is to speak at New York's "Ground Zero" and meet families of some of the victims of the September 11 attacks by Al Qaeda in 2001.

Obama called Bush on Sunday night to inform him of the successful raid on bin Laden's compound, and Bush issued a statement congratulating him and the U.S. military and intelligence agencies for a "momentous achievement."

Sherzer said Bush "continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror."

Bush began the campaign to hunt down bin Laden after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington but was unable to do so during his time in office.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Chris Wilson)