White House Congratulates Venezuelan People on Election

ABC News' Ann Compton Reports: President Bush, who was once called 'the devil' by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, is offering a modest  applause for those who narrowly defeated Chavez's referendum to expand his own powers.

The White House statement reads simply: We congratulate the Venezuelan people on 'their' election.

In his first electoral defeat ever, Chavez lost a vote that would have allowed him to run for re-election indefinitely in Venezuela. In a 51 to 29 percent vote, Venezuelan voters also rejected a bid that would have endorsed sweeping reforms that would have allowed a leap to a socialist state.

The White House was less pleased with news out of Russia this weekend, where the US complains the govt was biased, and intimidated the opposition in important Parliamentary elections.

The statement from National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe was unusually detailed:

"Early reports from Russia include allegations of election day violations.  We urge Russian authorities to investigate these claims.   In the run up to election day, we expressed our concern regarding the use of state administrative resources in support of United Russia, the bias of the state-owned or influenced media in favor of United Russia, intimidation of political opposition, and the lack of equal opportunity encountered by opposition candidates and parties.  We also regret that limitations Russia imposed on election monitors prevented OSCE's ODIHR from fielding an election monitoring mission."   

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