Presidential Challengers: A Contrast in Styles

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Santa Clara, CA ( - With their presidential hopes on the line with tomorrow's Super Tuesday vote, the campaigns of Arizona Senator John McCain and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley are being fueled by strikingly different emotions.

At Bradley headquarters in Los Angeles there is a deepening sense of gloom over the Democratic challenger's chances in Tuesday's all important California primary. Bradley campaign workers refuse to even speculate on the record about his chances of winning in California or any of the primary states.

A Bradley spokesperson, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told they would not make any predictions about Bradley's finish in the Tuesday vote.

"We are just going to see what happens here and let Senator Bradley make his own determination about the future," said the spokesperson.

A recent Zogby poll finds Bradley trailing Gore 48 percent to 17 percent among Democratic voters in California. Bradley is not campaigning in the Golden State preferring to concentrate his resources in New England and the Atlantic Coast states.

Instead in California he is running a series of back and white television ads focusing on what he calls "Big Issues" like universal health care and handgun licensing and registration.

In contrast aides for McCain acknowledge their campaign in California is being fueled by anger at what they consider to be dirty tricks by the Bush campaign.

Speaking in Silicon Valley Monday morning McCain blasted Bush, accusing him of being behind a series of campaign ads that attack the senator's record on environmental issues that have been running in California and other large Super Tuesday states. The Wyly brothers, a pair of wealthy Texans, purchased the ads.

"Tuesday we are going to let my opponent know that California can make its own decisions without help from a bunch of Texas billionaires," said McCain in Santa Clara.

From the stump McCain has stepped up his verbal attacks on Governor Bush referring to him in several recent campaign and television appearances as "not ready for prime time."

However, aides to McCain continue to stress the senator's electability in interviews with reporters. McCain spokesperson Todd Harris told reporters Monday that McCain will continue to tell Super Tuesday voters that he, not Bush, is "the Republicans best hope for victory in the fall."