Former President George W. Bush has had a presence in the 2012 presidential election.
Whether in campaign ads on television, during a debate or during a campaign visit, voters have heard the former two-term president’s name often –– usually in comparison or in contrast to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
While presidential elections tend to focus on the future of a country, State College residents involved in the campaign said they noticed an emphasis on the past in the 2012 election.
“During some of the debates, it seemed to me Obama eluded to Bush’s ‘third term’ in office if Romney were to win the election, like he did with John McCain in 2008,” Michael Mahon, president of the Penn State Political Science Association, said.
Mahon also said voters have realized Bush’s two terms in office were brought up enough in the 2012 election.
Though Bush and Romney have core Republican values in common, they are different brands of Republicans, and it is up to voters to see the differences, Mahon said.
“President Obama has been trying to connect Bush and Romney throughout the election, but Romney has much more business experience, and that’s what voters will be looking for,” Daryl Schafer, chairman of the Centre County Republicans, said.
Schafer and Mahon agreed voters would be focused on current issues on Election Day much more than on former President Bush’s mistakes during his two terms in office, which spanned from 2001 to 2009.
“More than anything, I think economic issues are going to be weighing heavy on their minds come Tuesday,” Mahon said.
Shafer said he didn’t believe Bush would have a major impact on voters’ decisions, as he thought jobs would be the major issue.
Taylor Garland, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama, said Obama has been building a new foundation the past four years to make sure what happened under Bush never happens again.
“Voters know their lives have improved under Obama, and they know what they got under Bush,” Garland said. “The President has done a lot for students especially, like keeping students under their parents’ health insurance and making paying back students loans easier.”