The conversation was brief - less than five minutes long and described by Kerry campaign aides and White House staff members as "courteous."
It came after a long night of vote counting in the crucial state of Ohio confirmed Mr. Bush's lead in both the popular vote and among members of the Electoral College, which determines the results.
Senator Kerry is expected to make a formal concession speech shortly (1:00pm EST) with a victory speech from President Bush to follow.
All indications are the president will use the opportunity to thank his Democratic Party opponent for a race well run. The Republican incumbent - who will be inaugurated for a second term in January - is also expected to reach out to try to heal some of the deep political divisions that were so apparent in the election campaign.
Tuesday's election was a good for the Republicans all around. In addition to retaining the White House, the president's party strengthened its majority in both houses of the U.S. Congress.