Remarks on Election Day and an Exchange With Reporters in Crawford, Texas
The President. It's such a wonderful feeling to vote. This election is in the hands of the people, and I feel very comfortable about that. The people know where I stand. I've enjoyed this campaign. It's been a fantastic experience traveling our country, talking about what I believe and where I'm going to lead this country for 4 more years. You know, there's just something refreshing about giving it your all and then saying the people will make the right decision. And I believe I'm going to win.
Yes, Stretch [David Gregory, NBC News].
Q. Mr. President, I wonder why—why do you believe this election is this close?
The President. Well, first of all, it's been a lot of issues we've debated, big issues of war and peace and the economy. I've got a philosophy everybody understands. I've got a clear view about how to lead. But we'll see how it goes tonight. You know I'm not a very good prognosticator. You're the pundit. You're the person who makes all the forecasts. And we'll see what the people say. That's where we are. Now is the time for the people to express their will.
Yes, Scott [Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press].
Q. Mr. President, any butterflies?
The President. I don't. I know I've given it my all. I feel calm. I feel—I am confident that the people—in the judgment of the people. I'm one of these candidates, I feed off the enthusiasm of the people. Yesterday was an amazing day in my political life, did seven stops. The enthusiasm was contagious. I'm so grateful for the thousands of people who have been working on my behalf and who are praying for me and Laura. It was a great day yesterday, and the whole campaign was a fantastic experience. I'm very comfortable that I got my message out. The people know where I stand. The people know I know how to lead. The people know I have a vision for the future of this country. And we're going to go one stop in Ohio to tell the volunteers thanks for their work, and we'll go back and wait—await the outcome.
Q. Mr. President, what about all the passion in this country—I mean, you have generated so much passion both for you and against you. How do you account for that?
The President. Well, I take that as a compliment. It means I'm willing to take a stand. A lot of politicians take positions, but they don't take a stand. I take a stand, and I tell people what I believe and what I think. These are very troubling times, and I believe a President must lead by being resolute and firm and strong and clear. And the people know that. That's why I'm comfortable about this election. I've given it my all, and more importantly, I have clarified the differences between what I believe and what my opponent believes.
Any other questions besides Stretch? He seems to be dominating. [Laughter] Perhaps the rest of you are somewhat groggy. [Laughter]
Central Issue of 2004 Election
Q. Sir, what does it really come down for voters when they walk in the booth today? For American voters, what is the issue, what does it come down to?
The President. The issue is, who do you trust? This is a campaign of trust. Who do you trust to secure this country? Who do you trust to lead with firmness and steadfast resolution, protect the American people? Who do you trust to adhere to the values, the values that most people agree with? And who do you trust to keep this economy growing?
Q. And you trust the results will come out tonight?
The President. Absolutely. I trust the judgment of the American people. I love our democracy, and I have got great faith in the wisdom of the people of this country.
Big Stretch [Richard Keil, Bloomberg News].
Closure on the 2004 Election
Q. Does it feel to you like we'll know the results tonight? Or will it be a nail-biter like it was 4 years ago?
The President. Well, of course, these are the pundits—there are pundits and prognosticators like you all. You're doing a fabulous job of speculating what may happen. My hope, of course, is that this election ends tonight. I think it's very important for it to end tonight. The world watches our great democracy function. There would be nothing better for our system for the election to be conclusively over tonight so that—I think it's going to be—so I can go on and lead this country and bring people together, set an agenda, which will be to make sure America is secure, expand our prosperity, and move forward and bring Republicans and Democrats together.
Listen, we're off. I've enjoyed it. Thank you for your coverage.
Senator John F. Kerry
Q. Any words for Senator Kerry this morning?
The President. I wish him all the best. You know, he and I are in the exact same position. We've given it our all, and I'm— I'm sure he is happy, like I am, that the campaign has come to a conclusion. All I can tell you is I know that I've put my full amount of energy in this campaign, and I've enjoyed it. And I am enthused, and I have been uplifted by the spirit of the— of our supporters and by the prayers of our supporters.
Anyway, thank you all very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 7:42 a.m. at available for verification of the content of the Crawford Fire Station. A tape was not these remarks.
George W. Bush, Remarks on Election Day and an Exchange With Reporters in Crawford, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/213685