President Bush has accepted victory in the U.S. presidential election, pledging to do all he can to protect and serve the American people during his next four years in office.
His acceptance speech in Washington today (Wednesday) came less than an hour after Democratic rival John Kerry publicly conceded defeat and urged Americans to "stand together" after the bitter and extremely close election.
President Bush also asked Americans for their support, saying he is proud to lead the country.
He pledged to fight the war against terror with "every resource available," and said he will forge ahead in Afghanistan and Iraq so those countries, in his words, "will grow in strength."
He also promised progress on domestic issues, including improving the economy and education as well as reforming Social Security.
Mr. Bush was introduced by Vice President Cheney, who said the administration had earned "broad nationwide support" during the campaign.
Nearly complete results from Tuesday's election show Mr. Bush leading Mr. Kerry in the popular vote by 51% to 48%, or about 3.5 million votes.
The president had hoped for a quick victory, but a long night of vote counting in the state of Ohio delayed the outcome until today.
Senator Kerry conceded once it became clear the president's small lead in Ohio was insurmountable.
Voter turnout was heavy after a long and heated campaign focused on the war on terrorism, Iraq and the economy. But many exit polls suggest Bush supporters were swayed by the president's stance on what were termed "moral issues," including a ban on gay marriage and opposition to stem cell research.