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George W. Bush Praises Paul Ryan As Mitt Romney's VP Pick

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Former United States President George W. Bush smiles as he watches a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Former United States President George W. Bush smiles as he watches a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Mitt Romney campaign blasted out predictable statements of top Republicans praising the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for vice president, but one name stood out -- former President George W. Bush.

"This is a strong pick," he said. "Governor Romney is serious about confronting the long-term challenges facing America, and Paul Ryan will help him solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations."

Bush has stayed largely out of the presidential race, save for two brief comments in support of Romney. He is not attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., either. He has good reason to lay low: More Americans blame him for the recession than President Barack Obama, according to a June Gallup poll, undermining the key Romney narrative that Obama is to blame for the country's ongoing economic woes.

"I crawled out of the swamp and I'm not crawling back in," Bush said of political life in a recent interview with the Hoover Institution's Peter Robinson . For today -- and perhaps today only, since he also has said that Romney can do fine without him -- he stuck a toe back in that swamp.

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George W. Bush calls Ryan 'a strong pick'