George W. Bush, Mei-Chun Jau/USA Today
By THOMAS BEAUMONT / Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The last Republican president is a no-show at the GOP national convention this week. And the party that George W. Bush led for eight years has barely mentioned him -- or his record.
Nevertheless, Bush's fiscal legacy -- including hundreds of billions spent on two wars that helped balloon the federal deficit -- loomed large over the gathering.
Republicans have been arguing that the GOP is the party of smaller government. But even Paul Ryan lumped Bush together with President Barack Obama, as the GOP vice presidential candidate used his speech Wednesday to blame both for spending too much.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney likes to taunt Obama for presiding over the largest increase in the national debt of any president. But Bush ran up nearly as much red ink.