(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Al Gore, in his final address to the nation, conceded his bid for presidency to President-elect George W. Bush. Gore called Bush in the few minutes before his address to congratulate him.
"And I promised him that I wouldn't call him back this time," said Gore.
Gore made reference to Senator Steven Douglass' remarks to Abraham Lincoln, who had defeated him for president, saying, "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism".
"That which unites us is greater than that which divides us. This is America, and we put country before party," said Gore in an emotional speech with family and Senator Joseph Lieberman standing by for support.
Gore said while he strongly disagrees with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, he accepts "the finality of this outcome".
"I also accept my responsibility which I will discharge unconditionally to honor the new president-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together," said Gore.
"Let me say how grateful I am to all those who supported me and who supported the cause for which we have fought," Gore said. "We are one people with a shared history and a shared destiny."
Gore addressed the lengthy and controversial election dispute by saying, "Other disputes have dragged on for weeks before reaching resolution and each time, both the victor and the vanquished have accepted the result peacefully and in the spirit of reconciliation. So let it be with us."
Gore added, "I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too, but our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country."
"And I say to our fellow members of the world community: Let no one see this contest as a sign of America's weakness. The strength of American democracy has shown most clearly through the difficulty that it can overcome."
Gore urged all Americans, specifically his supporters to "unite behind our next president."
"Some have expressed concern that the unusual nature of this election might hamper the next president in the conduct of his office. I do not believe it need be so. President-elect Bush inherits a nation whose citizens will be ready to assist him in the conduct of his large responsibilities."
Gore said he plans to spend the holidays with friends and family, most especially, he said, "I know I'll spend time in Tennessee to mend fences---literally and figuratively."
Gore addressed the question of whether he has any regrets.
"I do have one regret. That I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed. Especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you and I will not forget," said Gore.