President George W. Bush has won a second term in the White House, defeating Senator John F. Kerry. The Democrat from Massachusetts called the president yesterday morning to congratulate him, ending the possibility of a weeks-long recount similar to what happened after the 2000 election.
Bush spoke to thousands of supporters in downtown Washington yesterday afternoon. He thanked them and his family for their help in winning "a historic victory." He also promised to put the political campaign behind him and work with Kerry in the future.
The Republican president called on Americans to come together again. "We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America," Bush said.
Bush said he would spend his second term improving the economy and fighting terrorists such as the ones who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
Shortly before the president spoke, Kerry told supporters gathered in Boston that he didn't want to drag out an election that he could not win. Kerry, his voice hoarse from giving hundreds of campaign speeches and interviews, said, "I hope we can begin the healing" after a long and sometimes mean campaign.
The winner wasn't known on Election Day because no one could say for sure who won the key state of Ohio, where there was a delay in counting ballots. The electoral college race was so close nationally that whichever candidate won Ohio would win the presidency. By yesterday morning, Kerry said, it was clear he would not be able to overtake Bush in Ohio.
Other interesting points about this presidential election:
* About 120 million Americans voted. That's about 60 percent of everyone eligible to vote, and the highest turnout since 1968.
* Bush won a majority of the popular vote (more than half of all votes cast), the first presidential candidate to do so since 1988. In the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections, no one got more than 50 percent because other candidates in those races also won millions of votes.
* Bush's reelection comes 12 years after his father, George H.W. Bush, lost his campaign for a second term as president.
* Kerry remains a senator from Massachusetts. He could run for reelection to the Senate in 2006.