I don't believe George W remained silent because he refused to get involved. I think he was asked to do so by the establishment Republicans that believed it would be too risky. Better for the Republicans to join in with the bashing to remove that advantage from the Democrats. W took one for the 'team' again. Every time W came out swinging at the Democrats and the liberal media, his approval jumped. At the end of his term they requested he remain silent to help McCain. Dumb move.