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2004 ELECTION COVERAGE - 2004-11-03

President George W. Bush won a second term in elections Tuesday that also strengthened Republican control of Congress.

"Today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust," Mister Bush said in a victory speech Wednesday afternoon. The forty-third president spoke of one country with one Constitution and one future. He declared that working together, "there is no limit to the greatness of America"

He described his goals for the next four years: "We will continue our economic progress. We'll reform our outdated tax code. We'll strengthen the Social Security for the next generation. We'll make public schools all they can be. And we will uphold our deepest values of family and faith.

"We'll help the emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan, so they can grow in strength and defend their freedom. And then our service men and women will come home with the honor they have earned. With good allies at our side, we will fight this war on terror with every resource of our national power so our children can live in freedom and in peace."

Mister Bush spoke to supporters gathered in Washington soon after Senator John Kerry publicly accepted defeat in a speech in Boston, Massachusetts. Senator Kerry had telephoned the president earlier in the day.

"We talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together. Today, I hope that we can begin the healing," the Democratic candidate said. But he also said that "our fight goes on" for issues such as job growth, health care and the environment.

Senator Kerry told his supporters that there was no way he could have gained enough votes from ballots that remained to be counted in Ohio. That state decided the election; Ohio's 20 electoral votes gave Mister Bush the number he needed for victory in the Electoral College.

Mister Bush also won a majority of the popular vote. No president has done that since his father was elected in nineteen eighty-eight.

In the two thousand election, the winner was not known for more than a month. Al Gore won more popular votes, but Mister Bush won the electoral vote with Florida after the Supreme Court stopped a ballot recount there.

On Saturday we will have a full report on the presidential election on IN THE NEWS. And listen Monday for results from congressional and other elections on THIS IS AMERICA. Among those who lost their seats: Tom Daschle of South Dakota, leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate.

For more VOA coverage, click on the English-Worldwide link above and the link at right to the VOA Election Results Map.