President Bush has accepted the Republican nomination to run in November's election for another four years in office.
With no serious opposition in party primaries, President Bush was always assured of this Republican nomination. Now that he has it, he faces a tight race for re-election, with voters almost equally divided between the president and his Democratic challenger John Kerry.
So Mr. Bush used his acceptance speech as much to thank loyal Republicans as to reach out to undecided voters. "I am running for President with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world, and a more hopeful America. I am running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives. I believe this Nation wants steady, consistent, principled leadership - and that is why, with your help, we will win this election," he said.
The president gave much of his standard campaign speech, including attacks on Senator Kerry for opposing medical liability reform and legislation limiting same-sex marriage. Mr. Bush accused his opponent - and Democratic running mate John Edwards - of pursuing policies of tax and spend, while voting against $87 billion of spending for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor. When asked to explain his vote, the Senator said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Then he said he was proud of that vote. Then, when pressed, he said it was a complicated matter. There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat," he said.
Senator Kerry says he supports U.S. troops but voted against the $87 billion appropriation because he wanted the money to come from a rollback of the president's record tax cuts and not be added to the federal deficit.
On domestic issues, President Bush spoke of the challenges of a "dramatically" changing world and what he will do with another four years in office to help Americans adapt. "This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family, and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side. Many of our most fundamental systems - the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training - were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow," he said.
President Bush says he will transform health coverage, pensions, and worker training to allow citizens to make their own choices and pursue their own dreams.
Keeping with the convention's over-riding theme of fighting terrorism, Mr. Bush said he is building a safer world by staying on the offensive. He spoke of tripling funding for homeland security, while transforming the military and intelligence services to strike terrorists abroad so Americans do not have to face them at home. "This moment in the life of our country will be remembered. Generations will know if we kept our faith and kept our word. Generations will know if we seized this moment and used it to build a future of safety and peace. The freedom of many, and the future security of our Nation, now depend on us and tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me," he said.
Having accepted the Republican nomination, the president is wasting no time getting back out on the campaign trail. He has rallies scheduled in the important swing states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa on Friday and a bus trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania Saturday.