SPECIAL SERIES : 2004 National Election
Kerry Concedes, Calls for Unified Nation
November 3, 2004 12:15 PM
Sen. John Kerry conceded victory to President George W. Bush today in Boston and said it is time for a divided American public to work toward unity.
“It is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted – and they will be counted – there won’t be enough outstanding votes for us to win,” Kerry told an enthusiastic crowd at the historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass.
About 60 SF State students gathered around a television to watch a live broadcast of Kerry’s speech on MSNBC in the lower level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Unlike Kerry’s home-state Boston supporters, the students were solemn and attentive as Kerry said he called Bush earlier in the day to congratulate him on the victory.
“We talked about the danger of the division in our country and the desperate need for unity in our country,” Kerry said. “Today, I hope, we can begin.”
His running mate, Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), addressed the crowd and news media first and was insistent that the remaining provisional ballots in Ohio would be counted.
“It was a long night and a long morning, and even though the outcome won’t change, I want you to know we will continue to fight for every vote,” Edwards said.
News agencies declared President Bush the winner late Tuesday night after the Ohio Secretary of State reported about 51 percent of the state’s votes in favor of the former Texas governor. Kerry received more than 48 percent of the vote.
Bush led Ohio with 136,483 votes and the remaining 155,337 provisional ballots are unlikely to change the outcome. Provisional ballots must be verified as valid and then counted.
The Ohio results became a necessary win for either candidate when the electoral votes began splitting between Bush and Kerry. Bush took the major battleground state of Florida, which had been the focus of a major balloting controversy in the 2000 presidential election that was resolved in the Supreme Court. Kerry took a decisive win in Pennsylvania.
Sociology major James Jetton, 29, waited in the student center for Kerry’s speech, which was expected at 10 a.m. this morning.
“[Kerry] doesn’t really have any grounds to contest the election right now,” Jetton said.
Bush also won the popular vote but the results from many states were close.
“I don’t know if I wish [Kerry and Edwards] would have held out longer or not because now all these analysts are talking about bringing the nation together and obviously the country’s divided,” Jennifer Florez, a sociology major said.
History major Shruti Patel, 21, wished Kerry didn't concede the race.
"But I don't wants what happened last time [to happen]," Patel said. "Where it went on for a couple of weeks."
At 11 a.m., both the Kerry and Edwards families filed into Faneuil Hall and took their places below the podium. Edwards introduced Kerry as a “great American” and “the man who refused to surrender the hopes and dreams of the country he loves so much.”
The crowd gave Kerry a rousing and extended round of applause as he stepped behind the podium.
“You just have no idea how warm and generous that welcome is,” Kerry said.
Kerry reiterated the need for Americans to work together to find a common cause “without anger or rancor.”
“I did my best to explain my vision and hopes for American,” Kerry said. “I wish things had turned out differently … but in American elections, there are no losers because we all wake up the next morning Americans.”
Both Edwards and Kerry thanked the thousands of volunteers who had worked on the campaign.
“You can be disappointed but you cannot walk away,” Edwards said. “This fight has just begun.”
“I wish, you don’t know how much I wish, I had brought this race home for them,” Kerry told the volunteers. “The time will come, the election will come, when your ballots will change the world and it’s worth fighting for.”
“So with gratitude in my heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer,” Kerry said. “And that prayer is simple, God bless America.”
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