TAMPA, Fla. – George W. Bush has not been much of a presence at the Republican National Convention, his two-term administration barely mentioned, but the former president got a prime-time shout-out from his younger brother, Jeb Bush, in an unscripted moment from center stage.
"My brother, well, I love my brother," the former Florida governor told the cheering crowd, opening his remarks by diverting from his scheduled talk on education.
"He is a man of integrity, courage and honor, and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe."
Drawing the former president into the convention poses risks for the party, as the GOP has tried to keep a safe political distance from that era. Two wars, mounting debt and the start of the Great Recession all have roots in the Bush presidency. And Republicans lost control of Congress during Bush's final term.
The administration has gotten barely a nod here in Tampa, even after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to the hall on Wednesday. A video tribute to his father had also aired that night, and Jeb Bush told the crowd he wanted to say something personal about his family.