Republicans sang the city's praises to thousands of delegates at Monday's opening of the national convention that will nominate President Bush for another term.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 5-to-1 in this city, but GOP chief Ed Gillespie nevertheless called it "one of the greatest cities in the world."

Gillespie said the GOP looks forward to growing its majorities in the House and Senate, and among the ranks of governors, on Nov. 2.

"We will leave here with momentum that will carry us to victory in November," he said.

Marc Racicot (search), chairman of Bush's re-election campaign, said New York is "one of the most exciting places on earth" and is a "hopeful town."

It was here, he said, that Bush "confronted one of the greatest tests of leadership ever to face a president," the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

"In this city, America finally awoke to the reality of a world at war," Racicot said. "In this city, vibrant and better than ever, we find confirmation that America, though bruised, can never be shattered."

Bush lays out his second-term agenda in a speech Thursday night, the last of the convention.