Vol. 5 Num 170 Thu. November 11, 2004  

Kerry vows to press on with agenda in Senate

John Kerry returned to the US Capitol on Tuesday, vowed to fight on in the Senate for the changes sought by supporters of his failed US presidential bid and did not rule out another White House run.

"Fifty-four plus million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem-cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security," the four-term senator from Massachusetts told reporters as he met with two top Democratic congressional leaders.

"We need to be unified," Kerry said in his first public comments since conceding defeat to President Bush in last Tuesday's election.

"We have a very clear agenda, and I'm going to be fighting for that agenda with all of the energy that I have and all of the passion I brought to the campaign," Kerry said.

Kerry did not rule out another White House bid, but joked about a comment by his brother, Cameron, in The Boston Globe on Tuesday that such a run is "conceivable."

"It's inconceivable to me that anyone is even talking about that stuff right now," said Kerry, flanked by Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

"We have a lot of things to talk about, a lot of things to do," Kerry said.

While Democrat Al Gore adopted a relatively low profile immediately after losing the 2000 White House race to Bush, Kerry clearly intends to remain in the spotlight.

Having spent most of the past year on the campaign trail, he plans to return to the Senate next week when Congress holds what is expected to be a brief post-election session.

The new 109th Congress is to convene in January with Republicans enjoying bolstered majorities in the House and Senate, thanks to last week's election.

Kerry met on Tuesday with Reid and Pelosi in the House Democrat's leadership office and discussed their plans as members of the minority party on Capitol Hill.

As television cameras rolled, Pelosi said, "I want to tell Senator Kerry how proud we were of him and are of him. His candidacy for president of the United States energized America .... His legacy is a great one, but it will continue, I'm sure."