President Bush says voters expect politicians to rise above their partisan differences. So he invited House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to lunch at the White House.
"The elections are now behind us. And the Congresswoman's party won. But the challenges still remain, and therefore we are going to work together to address those challenges in a constructive way. We will not agree on every issue, but we do agree that we love America equally, that we are concerned about the future of this country, and that we will do our very best to address big problems."
The president said he had a constructive and very friendly meeting with Pelosi, who is expected to become the first woman chosen by her party to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Pelosi said their talks were productive and signaled the start of a partnership to solve the nation's problems.
"I look forward to working in a confidence-building way with the president, recognizing that we have our differences, and we will debate them, and that is what our founders intended. But we will do so in a way that gets results for the American people."
Pelosi says she understands the responsibilities of serving as Speaker of all the House, not just its Democratic members. Having made history, she says it is now time to make progress.
Before Democrats take charge of the House in January, President Bush says, there is much work to be done in the existing Congress, including action on spending bills, terrorist surveillance, and alternative energy.
He is also calling on lawmakers to complete work on the Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and a deal sharing civilian nuclear technology with India.
But the biggest challenge remains the fight against terrorism and what the president says is the central front in that fight: Iraq.
"Our country now has more than 149-thousand men and women serving bravely in that country. Whatever party we come from, we all have a responsibility to make sure that these troops have the resources and support they need to prevail. I am open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds."
Iraq was a central issue in this election. Public opinion polls say a majority of Americans now believe the president's use of U.S. troops to topple Saddam Hussein was a mistake.