Re-elected Bush Promises to Continue Course, Vows Unity

ByABC News
October 31, 2004, 11:13 AM

Nov. 3, 2004 — -- Echoing the vow of his defeated opponent, a triumphant President Bush promised today to unite a divided nation after becoming the first Republican to be re-elected to the White House since Ronald Reagan.

"America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens," Bush told cheering supporters at the Reagan Center in Washington.

Bush's victory speech came one hour after Democratic Sen. John Kerry publicly conceded the presidential election. The Massachusetts senator called for bipartisan unity when he addressed supporters in Boston this afternoon, pledging to work with Bush to the heal nation's division over many issues, which was reflected in their contentious, often ugly campaign battle.

With Vice President Dick Cheney, first lady Laura Bush and other family members at his side, Bush vowed to win the trust of Kerry's supporters. He said the nation must come together, especially with the ongoing war on terrorism and U.S. troops fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work for it," Bush said. "A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to others. We have one nation, one constitution that binds. When we come together, work together, there's no limit to what we can do as a nation."

Bush promised to continue to work toward improving the economy and continue to protect the nation by fighting a global war on terror.

"Our nation has defended freedom and I'm proud to lead a nation and lead it forward," he said.

Cheney told supporters the victory -- and the general success of Republicans on Election Day -- is a popular mandate for the president's policies.

"We spread a tremendous message of hope and optimism to the entire nation and continent," said Cheney. "The result brought nationwide victory."

In his concession speech, Kerry urged his own supporters to unite as a nation and cross party lines to bridge the differences.

"Earlier today, I spoke with President Bush and I offered him and Laura congratulations," a slightly hoarse Kerry told supporters. "We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need -- the desperate need -- for finding common ground in America. Today I hope we can begin the healing."