My fellow Americans
appreciate the opportunity to speak with you tonight.
Mr. Speaker, Lt. Governor Perry, distinguished guests
Our country has been through a long and trying period,
with the outcome of the presidential election not
finalized for longer than any of us could have EVER
imagined. Vice President Gore and I put our hearts and
hopes into our campaigns; we both gave it our all. We
shared similar emotions.
I understand how difficult this moment
must be for Vice President Gore and his
family. He has a distinguished record of
service to our country as a
Congressman, a Senator and as Vice
This evening I received a gracious call
from the Vice President. We agreed to
meet early next week in Washington and
we agreed to do our best to heal our
country after this hard fought contest.
Tonight, I want to thank all the
volunteers and campaign workers who
worked so hard on my behalf, I also salute the Vice
President and his supporters for waging a spirited
campaign, ...and I thank him for a call that I know was
difficult to make.
Laura and I wish the Vice President and Senator
Lieberman and their families the very best. I have a lot
to be thankful for tonight. I am thankful for America and
thankful that we are able to resolve our electoral
differences in a peaceful way.
And I am thankful to the American people for the great
privilege of being able to serve as your next President. I
thank my wife and daughters for their love. Laura's
active involvement as First Lady has made Texas a
better place, and she will be a wonderful First Lady for
I am proud to have Dick Cheney by my side, and America
will be proud to have him as our next Vice President.
Tonight, I chose to speak from the chamber of the
Texas House of Representatives because it has been
home to bipartisan cooperation.
Here, in a place where Democrats have the majority,
Republicans and Democrats have worked together to do
what is right for the people we represent. We had
spirited disagreements, and in the end, we found
constructive consensus. It is an experience I will always
carry with me, and an example I will always follow.
I thank my friend, House Speaker Pete Laney, a
Democrat, who introduced me today. And I thank the
legislators of both parties with whom I worked. Across
the hall in our Texas Capitol is the State Senate, and I
cannot help but think of our mutual friend, the former
Democrat Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock. His love for
Texas and his ability to work in a bipartisan way
continue to be a model for all of us.
The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what
is needed in Washington. It is the challenge of our
moment. After a difficult election, we must put politics
behind us and work together to make the promise of
America available for every one of our citizens.
I am optimistic that we can change the tone of
Washington, D.C. I believe things happen for a reason,
and I hope the long wait of the last five weeks will
heighten a desire to move beyond the bitterness and
partisanship of the recent past.
Our nation must rise above a house divided. Americans
share hopes and goals and values far more important
than any political disagreements. Republicans want the
best for our nation. So do Democrats. Our votes may
differ, but not our hopes.
I know America wants reconciliation and unity. I know
Americans want progress. And we must seize this
moment and deliver. Together, guided by a spirit of
common sense, common courtesy and common goals, we
can unite and inspire the American citizens.
Together, we will work to make all our public schools
excellent, teaching every student of every background
and every accent, so that no child is left behind.
Together, we will save Social Security and renew its
promise of a secure retirement for generations to come.
Together, we will strengthen Medicare and offer
prescription drug coverage to all of our seniors.
Together, we will give Americans the broad, fair and
fiscally responsible tax relief they deserve.
Together, we will have a bipartisan foreign policy true to
our values and true to our friends. And we will have a
military equal to every challenge, and superior to every
Together, we will address some of society's deepest
problems one person at a time, by encouraging and
empowering the good hearts and good works of the
American people. This is the essence of compassionate
conservatism, and it will be a foundation of my
These priorities are not merely Republican concerns or
Democratic concerns, these are American
During the fall campaign, we differed about details of
these proposals - but there was remarkable consensus
about the important issues before us: excellent schools,
retirement and health security, tax relief, a strong
military and a more civil society.
We have discussed our differences; now it is time to find
common ground and build consensus to make America a
beacon of opportunity in the 21st century.
I am optimistic this can happen. Our future demands it,
and our history proves it. Two hundred years ago, in the
election of 1800, America faced another close
presidential election. A tie in the electoral college put
the outcome into the hands of Congress.
After six days of voting, and 36 ballots, the House of
Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson the third
President of the United States. That election brought
the first transfer of power from one party to another in
our new democracy.
Shortly after the election, Jefferson, in a letter titled
reconciliation and reform, wrote: "the steady character
of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely
moor... Unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner,
we shall be able I hope to do a great deal of good to the
cause of freedom and harmony."
Two hundred years have only strengthened the steady
character of America. And so as we begin the work of
healing our nation, tonight I call upon that character.
Respect for each other. Respect for our differences.
Generosity of spirit. And a willingness to work hard and
work together to solve any problem. I have something
else to ask of you, every American. I ask for you to pray
for this great nation. I ask your prayers for leaders from
I thank you for your prayers for me and my family, and I
ask you to pray for Vice President Gore and his family. I
have faith that with God's help we as a nation will move
forward together, as one nation, indivisible. And
together we will create an America that is open, so
every citizen has access to the American dream.
An America that is educated, so every child has the
keys to realize that dream. And an America that is
united in our diversity and our shared American values
that are larger than race or party.
I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one
nation. The President of the United States is the
President of every single American, of every race and
every background. Whether you voted for me or not, I
will do my best to serve your interests, and I will work to
earn your respect.
I will be guided by President Jefferson's sense of
purpose: to stand for principle, to be reasonable in
manner, and, above all, to do great good for the cause
of freedom and harmony.
The Presidency is more than an honor, more than an
office. It is a charge to keep, and I will give it my all.
Thank you and good night. May God bless America.