President Bush accepted the Republican nomination for a second term with a speech casting his reelection as crucial to the spread of democracy across the world and to the security of Americans at home.

In an address that subordinated domestic policy proposals to the campaign against terrorism, Bush delivered an emotional appeal that he be viewed as the leader best suited to keep the nation safe.

The speech to delegates, from a podium at the center of New York's Madison Square Garden, began and ended with references to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the city. The response to terrorism was woven through the 5,000-word address, the bulk of which was devoted to national security.

"In the heart of this great city, we saw tragedy arrive on a quiet morning," Bush said at the beginning of the speech. In closing, he added: "My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose."

On domestic matters, Bush proposed a simplification of the nation's tax code, and he revived his call from the 2000 campaign to bolster Social Security with private savings accounts. Bush's prime-time speech wrapped up a four-day convention characterized by repeated praise of his terrorism-fighting credentials, bitter criticism of Democratic challenger John F. Kerry's character and policies, and large street demonstrations in heavily Democratic New York. Though protests were generally calm, arrests exceeded 1,700 for the week -- nearly double the number in the violent 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. A judge ruled Thursday that the police illegally held hundreds of anti-Bush demonstrators without charges or access to lawyers for more than 40 hours.

-- Dana Milbank and Mike Allen

President Bush accepts the GOP nomination on the final night of the convention.