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Former President George W. Bush has decided not to share an audience with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a leadership conference for young business executives this weekend in Denver.
Assange, who is outside of London fighting an extradition order to answer a sex offense complaint in Sweden, only spoke via satellite. But that was too close for Bush.
Bush "decided to cancel" his appearance before the Young Presidents' Organization after learning Assange was on the agenda, Bush spokesman David Sherzer said in a statement reported by Politico and the National Journal.
The former president "has no desire to share a forum with a man who has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States," the statement said.
Officials in the Obama and Bush administrations have been horrified by the whistle-blower website's release of tens of thousands of classified documents, cables and e-mails related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and other sensitive diplomatic matters.
Bush had been scheduled to keynote a Saturday session of the Global Leadership Summit, which brings together young CEOs and executives from 75 countries to share information on business issues, politics and philanthropy. Assange spoke in a video on Friday, the Denver Post said.
WikiLeaks, in a Twitter post, called Bush "thin-skinned" and said the organizers of the Denver conference "courageously refused to remove Assange as a speaker," according to Politico.
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