Accepting the Republican party’s nomination to run for a second-term four year term in the White House, Bush on Thursday offered no apologies for invading Iraq but instead said he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to safeguard America.

“We have fought the terrorists across the earth, not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake,” Bush said.

“We are staying on the offensive – striking terrorists abroad – so we do not have to face them here at home,” he said.

“Because we acted to defend our country, the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated and democracy is coming to the Middle East”.

Bush criticised

While Republican faithful in the New York convention hall cheered, aides of John Kerry – Bush’s Democrat opponent in the November presidential elections – said “40 minutes of a speech cannot make up for four years of failure”.

“Tonight George Bush will tell us that this is a moment in history that will be remembered. But it will be remembered for the failures and divisiveness of his leadership,” Kerry’s campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill said.

Outside on New York streets, thousands of anti-Bush protestors held raucous demonstrations coinciding with the president’s acceptance speech.

Around 5,000 people gathered in Union Square for a silent candlelight demonstration against the war in Iraq.

Many protestors held up placards bearing slogans such as “So many lies, so much death” and “Send the Bush twins to Iraq”.