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Sen. Kerry's consession speech
I'm sorry that we got here a little bit late and little bit short.
I spoke to President Bush and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory.
We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need -- the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together.
Today I hope that we can begin the healing.
In America, it is vital that every vote count, and that every vote be counted. But the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process. I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail.
But is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio.
And therefore we cannot win this election.
My friends, it was here that we began our campaign for the presidency and all we had was hope and vision for a better America. It was a privilege and a gift to spend two years traveling this country, coming to know so many of you. ...
There's so much written about campaigns and there's so much that Americans never get to see.
I wish they could all spend a day on a campaign and see how hard these folks work to make America better. It is its own unbelievable contribution to our democracy and it's a gift to everybody, but especially to me, and I'm grateful to each and every one of you.
And I thank your families and I thank you for the sacrifices you've made. And to all the volunteers all across this country who gave so much of themselves. You know, thanks to William Field, a 6-year-old who collected $680 a quarter and a dollar at a time, selling bracelets during the summer to help change America.
Thanks to Michael Benson from Florida, who I spied in a rope line holding a container of money and it turned out he had raided his piggy bank and wanted to contribute. ...
I have visited your homes, I visited your churches, I visited your community halls, I've heard your stories.
I know your struggles, I know your hopes. They are part of me now.
And I will never forget you and I'll never stop fighting for you. ...
In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.
I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years.
I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. ...
I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic Party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals. ...
So with a grateful heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I've come to know our vast country so much better thanks to all of you and what a privilege it has been to do so.
And that prayer is very simple: God bless America.