And the presidential race is over. Senator John Kerry conceded in a phone call to President Bush yesterday morning ending the 2004 race. Bush held a victory rally at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington and appeared on stage with his family and Vice President Dick Cheney. Bush enters his second term after winning the popular vote by 3.5 million. he is the first president to win more than 50 percent of the vote in 16 years. And the Republicans have strengthened its control of both the House and the Senate. The Kerry campaign had vowed not to concede until every vote was counted in Ohio, but the Massachusetts Senator conceded yesterday after determining there were not enough uncounted voters to make up the difference. At 11 a.m. Kerry called Bush and then addressed supporters a couple hours later in Boston. Kerry called on the nation to "begin the healing." Speaking at his victory rally, Bush said, "America has spoken and I’m humbled by the trust and confidence of my fellow citizens. With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your president."
Today Bush will be meeting with his Cabinet for the first time since Aug. 2. There has been much speculation about the future of his cabinet revolving around the possible departures of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. The Guardian of London reports two of the administration’s most hawkish officials, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton may be in place for big promotions. While Bush spoke of reaching out to all Americans, early indications show the administration plans to move to the right.
Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday "President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation’s future and the nation responded by giving him a mandate."
Chief neoconservative writer Norman Podhoretz said Bush’s victory vindicated the neoconservative movement and he urged Bush to fight what he calls World War IV against the country’s enemies.
Conservative Christian leader Richard Viguerie said yesterday "Now comes the revolution. If you don’t implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?" In a memo sent to other conservative Christian Viguerie wrote "Make no mistake — conservative Christians and 'values voters' won this election for George w. Bush and Republicans in Congress." Viguerie went on to write, "It’s crucial that the Republican leadership not forget this."
In Britain, the country’s papers have issued stinging criticism of the U.S. electorate for backing Bush. The Daily Mirror asked how 59 million people "be so dumb" The cover of the London Independent reads "Four More Years" with pictures of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and scenes from the Iraq invasion.
Most foreign leaders publicly congratulated President Bush. But Moody Awori, the Vice President of Kenya, was a bit less diplomatic in his reaction. Awori said "To me, I think we are going to see more dictatorship on an international scale. We are going to see more extremism come out of there. We are going to see even more isolationism where America will not bother about the United Nations. To me that is a very sad affair."
In the Senate, the Republicans now hold a 55-45 edge and the make-up of the Senate has moved sharply to the right as several conservative Republicans won seats previously held by retiring Democrats from the South. One of the new senators, Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, is a leading opponent of abortion and supports executing doctors who perform illegal abortions.
In other news from election day, in San Francisco, 64 percent of the city’s voters supported a resolution calling for the U.S. government to withdraw it troops from Iraq.
In Albany New York, voters elected David Soares as the county’s new district attorney. Soares gained national attention for campaigning on a platform of reforming the state’s harsh Rockefeller drug laws. The Drug Policy Alliance hailed Soares victory as a sign that candidates can run and win on a platform that calls for sensible drug law reform.
In other news, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s health has taken a turn for the worse. He has been placed in critical care and there have been reports he has fallen into a coma. He is being treated at a military hospital in France. Haartez is reporting that senior Palestinian Authority officials have rushed to Ramallah for emergency meetings. The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Central Committee of the Fatah movement were both urgently summoned to Arafat’s headquarters. Former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was also en route to the compound.
Hungary announced it would pull its 300 troops out of Iraq by April. The country’s prime minister said "To stay there much longer is impossible."
In Afghanistan, the U.S.-backed Hamid Karzai has been officially declared the winner in last month’s presidential election.