Bush Team Strategy Was To Try To Force Kerry Concession
Even before Kerry conceded, President Bush's forces did all they could yesterday morning to show that the president's victory could not be stopped and that John Kerry should concede as soon as possible. The White House strategy was to act as if Bush were the clear winner and that nothing could dislodge him. If Kerry had not conceded, he had planned to take this tack and claim victory in Washington later yesterday. He and his aides were going to state that he had won Ohio, giving him a majority in the Electoral College, and that, nationwide, he had won three million more popular votes than Kerry. This is a clear majority, his aides said. And that's something not even Bill Clinton, the last two-term president, managed to do.
Even Tuesday night, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bush "had been champing at the bit to declare victory after spending election night in the White House residence monitoring results with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who had lost his own bid for a second term; his mother Barbara; his wife Laura; their two daughters; and assorted friends." Bush "said he wanted to go to the victory celebration around 1 a.m. and thank the volunteers. That was about the time Republicans in Ohio were phoning senior political strategist Karl Rove to say they were convinced Sen. John F. Kerry could not get enough votes in Ohio to win and therefore had lost the election."