US President George W Bush on Wednesday congratulated Barack Obama on becoming the first African American ever elected to the White House and promised a smooth transition over the next two months, dpa reported.
"No matter how they cast their ballots, all Americans can be proud of the history that was made yesterday," Bush said in a brief statement at the White House Rose Garden. "Many of our citizens thought they would never live to see that day."
Bush said he had a "warm conversation" with Obama Tuesday night, promised to work closely with the president-elect and keep him "fully informed on important decisions" made between now and the end of his term on January 20.
Bush will leave Obama to manage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as a faltering US economy. It also marks the first transition since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Obama's ascendency to the top position in the land "represents a triumph of the American story: a testament to hard work, optimism and faith in the enduring promise of our nation," Bush said.
"It will be a stirring sight to watch President Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House. I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride at this inspiring moment that so many have awaited so long," he added.
The president also praised losing Republican candidate John McCain for running a strong campaign.
"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.
Bush will leave office in January with approval ratings of around 25 per cent, the lowest since Richard Nixon.