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White House Claims Victory For Bush --> 3 November 2004 -- A senior aide to U.S. President George W. Bush says Bush is convinced he is the winner of yesterday's presidential vote.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said Bush is holding off on a formal victory declaration to give his rival, Democrat John Kerry, "time to reflect" on the results.

"In Ohio, President Bush has a lead of at least 140,000 votes. The [Ohio] secretary of state's office has informed us that this margin is statistically insurmountable, even after the provisional ballots are considered," Card said.

Bush is leading his opponent, Democratic Senator John Kerry, by more than three million votes nationwide.

But continued questions about results in the Midwestern state of Ohio means neither man is able to claim the state's 20 crucial electoral votes that would put either one of them over the 270-vote margin of victory.

Ohio officials must wait 10 days to begin counting "provisional ballots" -- votes cast by people whose eligibility may not be valid.

As many as 250,000 provisional votes may have been cast in Ohio.

Kerry's vice-presidential candidate, John Edwards, said today the Democrats will not concede defeat until the vote count is final. "John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted," Edwards said.

Major U.S. media outlets have so far not declared a winner based on their projections.