Indeed, as he nears the end of his first term, Obama still invokes Bush's policies with disdain.
As for Romney, he rarely talks up George W. Bush; instead he frequently jumps back to the 1980s to praise President Ronald Reagan. During the Republican primaries, Rick Santorum went so far as to apologize for backing Bush's centerpiece education reform, the "No Child Left Behind" law, when he was senator.
John McLaughlin, a veteran Republican strategist, said he thinks Bush still could help Romney politically if he was used the right way. One idea: having Bush campaign in Republican strongholds to boost GOP turnout on Election Day, he said.
But McLaughlin said it is better for Bush's legacy if he stays on the political sidelines. As long as Bush avoids the political wars, his standing among Americans will continue to rebound.
"You appear more presidential, more statesmanlike," he said.