Bush praises Obama, and McCain

President Bush embraced Barack Obama's election victory Wednesday, saying he understands the message of change that was the centerpiece of Obama's campaign.

Bush promised Obama his “complete cooperation” during the Democrat's 76-day transition to the White House. The president said he would keep Obama informed on all his decisions between now and Jan. 20, and said he looked forward to the day – soon, he hopes – that Obama and his family would take him up on his offer of a pre-inauguration White House visit.

But perhaps most striking about the Republican president's brief Rose Garden remarks was the stream of compliments he paid to Obama and the multiple nods to the history-making nature of his ascension.

Bush called Obama's win an “impressive victory” and said it represented strides “toward a more perfect union.” He said the choice of Obama was “a triumph of the American story, a testament to hard work, optimism and faith in the enduring promise of our nation.”

John McCain won accolades as well, but not nearly so glowing.

“The American people will always be grateful for the lifetime of service John McCain has devoted to this nation, and I know he'll continue to make tremendous contributions to our country,” Bush said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Obama, calling his election an “extraordinary step forward” for the nation. A child of the segregated South who became the highest-ranking African American woman ever in U.S. government, Rice called Obama “inspirational” and said his victory was proof of America's promise.