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MLK 50th anniversary march a Democratic event: neither Bush to attend

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Bill Clinton,George W. Bush,George H. W. Bush,Jimmy Carter,History,Martin Luther King

Neither former President George H.W. Bush nor his son, former President George W. Bush, will attend Wednesday's 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech due to health issues, spokesman for both told Secrets.

The 41st president is well, but generally restricted to a wheelchair, making attendance at the Lincoln Memorial event difficult. The invitation to the 43rd president came as he was undergoing a heart procedure that was going to require some rest.

Presidents Obama, Carter and Clinton do plan to attend the event Wednesday afternoon, making the "March on Washington" a Democratic event — and a security nightmare.

Freddy Ford, George W. Bush's spokesman, said that the president is "absolutely grateful" for being invited and regrets not being able to attend, but he is still getting better after doctors inserted a stent in a blocked heart artery earlier this month.

"He's recovering one day at a time," said Ford.

Bush, 67, is staying active in Dallas, Texas, during his recovery. This week he even visited with the football team of Southern Methodist University, home to his presidential library and museum.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.