Celebration and mourning mark Bush re-election

Once it became clear who would be the next president, supporters of President George W. Bush said they were happy about the Republican's official victory Wednesday, while those who supported Sen. John F. Kerry expressed hope for a winning Democratic ticket in the 2008 presidential race.

After hours of suspense over which candidate would receive the crucial 20 electoral votes from the swing state of Ohio, Kerry conceded the electoral victory to Bush Wednesday afternoon. The president gave his acceptance speech a few hours later.

"I thought it was good of John Kerry to concede when he did," said Chris Armstrong, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, who supported Bush. "I think it would have been really bad for our country if he would've drawn it out."

Freshman Derek Heiss, of the School of International Service, who also supported Bush, said that while the campaign season was exciting, he was also glad it was over. "It's nice to see it come to a definite conclusion, unlike 2000," he said.

In 2000's race, it took several weeks and a Supreme Court ruling to award Florida's electoral votes to Bush, granting him a victory over then-Vice President Al Gore.

Ashley Malandre, a sophomore in the School of Communication, said she did not pay much attention to the concession and acceptance speeches.

"I'm a Democrat and I wanted Kerry to win, so it was in one ear and out the other," she said.

In his speech, Kerry said, "I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that."

Emily Thomas, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, who supported Kerry, said she liked that sentiment from him.

"I thought it takes a big person to do that," she said.

Erika Hamalainen, an SIS freshman and another Kerry supporter, looked ahead to the next presidential contest.

"I don't think that Kerry is a very strong leader," she said. "The next four years will only strengthen the Democratic ticket for 2008 and produce someone worth voting for."

To bolster this point, Thomas listed several issues she worries about during Bush's next term, including the federal budget deficit, environmental issues and the likelihood that Bush will appoint conservative-leaning judges to the Supreme Court.

Throughout Wednesday, many students who supported Kerry talked about moving to countries they thought would fit them better politically, such as Canada, Italy and England. Courtney Haran, a CAS sophomore who supported Bush, said she was upset with these students.

"That's not supportive of our president, and it's also not supportive of our country," Haran said.

Sophomore Lindsey Sarowitz, also in SIS, said she supported Bush and thought reactions from Democrats were immature.

"You know what? Crying about it isn't going to change the president," Sarowitz said. "We're all here, and Bush has been the president for the past four years"

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