WASHINGTON (CP) - President George W. Bush claimed election victory on Wednesday, basking in the glow of a historic win that saw Americans stick with their wartime incumbent after a campaign battle waged over the war in Iraq, the threat of terrorism and a sluggish economy.
"We had a long night and a great night," a beaming Bush told cheering supporters at the Lincoln Center following a bitter and divisive campaign. "The voters turned out in record numbers and delivered a historic victory."
Bush had kind words for his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, less than an hour after the Massachusetts senator conceded defeat in an emotional speech in Boston. That concession speech followed a phone call between the two men earlier Wednesday.
"We had a really good phone call; he was very gracious," Bush said. "He waged a spirited campaign and he and his supporters can be proud of their efforts."
Bush also reached out to Democratic supporters in a possible nod to what Kerry called a "desperate need" in a phone call to the White House earlier Wednesday.