Bush proclaims victory following Kerry concession - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bush proclaims victory following Kerry concession

November 3, 2004

Washington-- After a concession speech earlier in the day from Boston, President Bush is claiming a "historic victory." Bush says, "America has spoken," and said he's "humbled" by the trust and confidence of Americans. He said he has a duty to serve all Americans, and that he'll do his best to fulfill that duty every day.

Bush told a cheering crowd in Washington that John Kerry had called with congratulations. He said it was a "really good phone call."

He said Kerry was "very gracious." Bush said Kerry had waged a "spirited campaign" -- and that Kerry and his supporters "can be proud." Bush vowed that in a second term, he will help what he called the "emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan."

He said he'll see that they become stronger and defend their freedom -- so that U. S. servicemen and women can "come home with the honor they have earned."

Bush also vowed to reform what he called an "outdated tax code" -- and to "strengthen Social Security for the next generation." He said he'd make the nation's public schools "all they can be," and he promised to "uphold the deepest values of family and faith."

Concluding his acceptance speech, Bush said he sees a "great day coming" for the country -- and that he's "eager for the work ahead." Bush described his second term as a "new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation." He said he presides over "one country" with "one constitution" -- and with "one future that binds us."

 He said the campaign has ended -- but that the nation goes forward "with confidence and faith."

Senator John Kerry called President Bush this morning to congratulate him on his victory. Kerry's promise of new leadership in Iraq and on the economy failed to win over enough voters to trump Bush's promises of strong wartime leadership. Sources say the call came just after 11:00AM Eastern time and lasted fewer than five minutes. Sources say Kerry told Bush, "Congratulations, Mr. President."

A Democratic source says Bush called Kerry a tough and honorable opponent. The source says Kerry told Bush the country is too divided and that the president agreed.

The Democratic official says Kerry told Bush, "We really have to do something about it."

The concession came after Kerry aides looked at the situation in Ohio -- where Bush has a lead of about 135,000 votes. They apparently concluded that Kerry would not be able to make up that difference in the uncounted provisional and absentee ballots.

updated at 4:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com