The man President Bush describes as the architect of his successful re-election campaign says this may be a turning point for the Republican Party, which also expanded its majority in both houses of Congress.
Senior advisor to the president Karl Rove says the Republicans are poised to dominate American politics for years to come. He says the party could hold a governing majority for decades, if it holds true to its principles.
"It depends on how Republicans act in office," he said. "Does the president pursue the agenda upon which he won this election? And do the Republicans in the House and Senate work with the president and with Democrats to make some important changes in our economy and our country?"
During an appearance on the Fox News Sunday television program, Mr. Rove said the president will push for tax reform, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution barring marriage between homosexuals, and major changes in the huge government programs that provide pensions and health care for the elderly.
He was asked if problems in Iraq could derail this post-election agenda and undermine the president's second term in office.
"Look, we have great confidence in the leadership of Iraq, in the coalition and in the ability of the U.S. military to support the security needs of Iraq, to help fight and win the war on terror," said Mr. Rove.
During the just-ended election campaign, President Bush stressed that Iraq is a primary front in the battle against terrorism. His Democratic Party opponent, Senator John Kerry, drew a distinction, calling Iraq a diversion.
Illinois Senator-elect Barack Obama, a rising star in the Democratic Party, told NBC's Meet the Press that the president convinced the American people that the war linkage was strong.
"We were less successful in making clear that we were as unified and as focused on the war on terror as anyone, but that the war in Iraq was a misguided strategy, at least in terms of how it was implemented," said Barack Obama.
Despite their deep differences, Mr. Obama said, he believes Democrats and Republicans can work together for the good of the nation. He said the key is to disagree without being disagreeable to keep harsh rhetoric in check, and seek common ground.
"I do not think the Democrats succeed by rooting against the president in office," he said. "But we have to be honest where we disagree with him, and he has got to make his case where he is presenting issues we are skeptical about."
Barack Obama said he believes John Kerry lost because he was running against a popular wartime president. He also praised Karl Rove, saying the Republican incumbent had one of the best political teams America has ever seen.