M A I N   N E W S

Bush is US President again
Kerry concedes defeat
Ashish Sen writes from Washington

Democratic presidential challenger Sen. John Kerry conceded defeat in a telephone call to President George W. Bush at 11 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) ending a long night of election drama.

The Massachusetts Senator’s decision to concede, some campaign insiders and analysts said, was an indication that he had given up on Ohio’s 20 Electoral Votes going his way. Others said Mr Kerry did not want to prolong the drama, like in 2000, and run the risk of further dividing a sharply and already polarized nation.

Mr Kerry called Mr Bush at the Oval Office around 11:02 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. During the brief conversation, Mr Bush told Mr Kerry he was “an admirable, worthy opponent.”

“You waged one tough campaign,” Mr McClellan quoted the President as saying. “I hope you are proud of the effort you put in. You should be.”

Mr Kerry’s phone call came a few hours after White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card announced that the Bush campaign was convinced the President had won re-election.

“President Bush decided to give the respect of more time to reflect on the results of this election,” Mr Card told Bush supporters at the Reagan Federal Building and International Trade Center in Washington.

A confident White House earlier on Wednesday morning was declaring victory for Mr Bush, but the President refused to make a formal announcement in order to give Mr Kerry “time to reflect” on the results.

The turning point came when Mr Bush won Florida’s 27 electoral votes, which swung the 2000 election in his favour.

Mr Kerry won Pennsylvania, the third key battleground state.

“We are convinced that President Bush has won re-election with at least 286 Electoral College votes,” Mr Card said. “And he also had a margin of more than 3.5 million popular votes.”

The popular vote does not matter in the U.S. presidential election. To win, a candidate must have 270 electoral votes.

MSNBC had Mr Bush with 269 Electoral Votes, one shy of the 270 needed to win, and Mr Kerry at 238.

“President Bush’s decisive margin of victory makes this the first presidential election since 1988 in which the winner received a majority of the popular vote,” Mr Card said, adding, “And in this election, President Bush received more votes than any presidential candidate in our country’s history.”

In addition to Florida, Mr Bush won Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Montana, Utah, Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado and Alaska.

Mr Kerry won Pennsylvania, Vermont, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, California, Oregon, Washington State, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Hawaii, the District of Columbia and three of Maine’s four electoral votes. 

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