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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
It's Bush for president - finally
President-elect George W Bush and his wife Laura
George W Bush reiterated the theme of "compassionate conservatism"
Republican George W Bush has secured his place as the next president of the United States after more than five weeks of political turmoil.

Our nation must rise above a house divided

George W Bush
In an address to the nation, Mr Bush promised to "change the tone in Washington DC", by working in a bipartisan manner.

Vice-President Gore, a Democrat, had conceded defeat an hour before, ending the longest and most complex US presidential election for well over a century.

President Bill Clinton said he was "proud of both men" for their grace in victory and defeat and pledged to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

I pledge to president-elect Bush my efforts and the best efforts of every member of our administration for a smooth and successful transition

President Clinton
He urged the country to put aside the "rancour" of recent weeks.

"All of us have a responsibility to support President-Elect Bush and unite our country in search of common ground," he said.

Mending fences

In his address, Mr Bush emphasised the themes he had campaigned on: improving education, relief to the elderly and lowering taxes.

And he reiterated the need for bipartisanship to overcome the divisions between Republicans and Democrats.

"I was elected not to serve one party but one nation", he said.

And to demonstrate his conciliatory tone, he said he planned to attend church in Austin on Thursday for what would be his first event as president-elect.

Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is done

Al Gore
Spokeswoman Karen Hughes said Mr Bush wanted to start "on a message of prayer and healing".

He was also considering holding a news conference, perhaps using the occasion to announce some initial White House and cabinet appointments.

Next Tuesday he plans to meet Messrs Clinton and Gore, as well as congressional leaders, in Washington.

Supreme Court ended race

After five weeks of bitterly partisan legal wrangling, Mr Gore's fate was sealed by a US Supreme Court decision handed down on Tuesday night.

The divided ruling said in essence that time had run out for recounts in the crucial state of Florida.

Mr Gore criticised the Supreme Court decision in his concession speech, but said he would not challenge it.

Al Gore
Gore disagrees with the court verdict, but accepts it
"While I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it," he said.

The BBC Washington correspondent Paul Reynolds says that, while Mr Gore might have hidden his bitterness, there are many others who will not.

Some Democrats remain deeply dissatisfied with the conduct of the election. They include the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has threatened street protests at the inauguration ceremony on 20 January.

New team

Mr Bush must now quickly put together the framework of his administration.

The US Government has finally authorised him to receive $5.3m and has given him access to offices provided for the transitional team.

Vice-President-Elect Dick Cheney will receive the keys to the office in a formal ceremony scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Mr Cheney has so far had to work to prepare the transition from a privately funded office in a Washington suburb.

Access to the government offices was refused until it was clear who had won the election.

There is little chance that a full team will be in place by Inauguration Day.

Among Mr Bush's first appointments are likely to be retired General Colin Powell as secretary of state, and Stanford University scholar Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser.

Bitter blow

Mr Gore's admission of defeat seals a remarkable victory for Mr Bush, who has only been in politics for six years.

Before being elected Governor of Texas in 1994, he was a part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. He has also worked in the oil industry.

Admitting defeat must have been a particularly bitter pill for Mr Gore, a career politician who actually won the popular vote nationwide.

He lost the White House because it is the Electoral College, which operates state by state, that formally selects the president.

With nearly 50 million ballots in his favour, Mr Gore took more popular votes than Bill Clinton in 1992 or 1996, and more than George Bush - the current president-elect's father - in 1988.

He is the first candidate since Grover Cleveland in 1888 to win the popular vote, but lose in the Electoral College.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Washington
"America has witnessed an extraordinary and at times bizarre spectacle"
The BBC's Philippa Thomas
"Bush will need great political skill to make his presidency function"


Bush presidency:


Texts and transcripts:


See also:

14 Dec 00 | Americas
The world welcomes Bush
13 Dec 00 | Americas
US Supreme Court: How they ruled
13 Dec 00 | Americas
Analysis: What the ruling means
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Bush to lead a nation divided
14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Bush gets Hollywood approval
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