President Bush says he will push hard for his domestic and foreign priorities in his second term in office. Mr. Bush is offering to work with his political opponents but at the same time makes clear he will fight for the programs and policies he believes in.
Mr. Bush's tone following his election victory is one of determination and exhilaration. At a post-election news conference, he said he is going into his second term with the firm support of the American electorate: "This week the voters of America set the direction for the next four years. I am honored by the support of my fellow citizens and I am ready for the job."
His agenda for the new term is familiar. Fighting terrorism tops the list, as does revising the tax code and tackling problems with the massive government programs that provide pensions and health care to the elderly: "When you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view. And that is what I intend to tell the congress: that I made it clear what I intend to do as president, and the people made it clear what they wanted, now let's work together."
Mr. Bush never used the word mandate, but he left no doubt he believes he has strong political momentum as a result of the election: "Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it."
The president did not go into specifics about his foreign policy goals. He emphasized he would stay the course in Iraq, despite criticism from some old allies, such as France and Germany. And he vowed to do all he can, in concert with other countries, to win the war on terrorism.
President Bush said, "Every civilized country also has a stake in the outcome of this war. Whatever our past disagreements, we share a common enemy. And we have common duties: to protect our peoples, to confront disease and hunger and poverty in troubled regions of the world."
Mr. Bush would not talk about the possibility his foreign policy advisors might change in his second term. He said he has made no decisions about his cabinet, but added he is well aware that these are very demanding jobs that take a high toll on individuals and their families: "There will be some changes. I don't know who they will be. It is inevitable there will be changes. It happens in every administration."
Among those who have indicated they may want to leave their current high level positions are National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Attorney General John Ashcroft.