The White House claimed a second-term mandate Thursday for President Bush's agenda. The president
reached out for the broad support of Americans on Wednesday, even those who voted against him. The president immediately called for renewed attention to a constitutional ban on gay marriage and moving "this good-hearted nation toward a culture of life."
"Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans," Bush said as he asked Sen. John Kerry's disappointed supporters to back him--even though many of his proposals are anathema to those who opposed his reelection. "I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust," he said. "When we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."
The disputed 2000 election left Bush without a mandate, but he governed as if he had one. The White House made clear Wednesday that it believes that mandate did not elude Bush this time, when he became the first presidential candidate since 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote, 51%.
Another sticky item could be a Supreme Court appointment, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 80, suffering from thyroid cancer. Time and energy also will be consumed dealing with the inevitable rash of cabinet departures, likely to include at least Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice, Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, and Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson.