Sensing Victory in CA, Bush Takes Aim At Gore

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

Los Angeles ( - Feeling confident that Tuesday's vote will bring him victories in California and across the United States, Texas Governor George W Bush Monday trained his sights on likely Democratic nominee Al Gore in appearances in California.

"We're counting down to the end of the Clinton era," Bush told supporters in Long Beach, California Monday night, repeating a signature phrase. "It's coming soon."

He also attacked the vice president's education proposals in appearances throughout the day, accusing Gore of wanting to pour federal funds into schools without strong accountability measures.

"We'll listen to Al Gore talk about buildings -- bricks and mortar -- and this campaign, we'll talk about saving people's lives," he said.

Privately, Bush aides are confident that Tuesday's voting will put the candidate well on the road to the nomination.

"We set him up in Washington and Virginia, and we'll knock him out" on Tuesday, one Bush advisor told, referring to Bush's rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Bush aides also say they hope to raise $10 million in the next two weeks to prepare for the fall election fight.

Bush struck a less aggressive note at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Monday, telling listeners there that "our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world of justice and inclusion and diversity without division," and he promised to be a strong supporter of Israel.

Bush's remarks came several weeks after he was criticized for visiting for visiting Bob Jones University in South Carolina, which at the time banned interracial dating and whose founder has espoused anti-Catholic views. At the Wiesenthal Center, Bush again apologized for not taking issue with those views in his speech there.

Meanwhile, Bush has strongly denied coordinating attack ads paid for by two Texas brothers, Sam and Charles Wyly, who are supporters of the governor. The ads criticize McCain's environmental record, and McCain has attacked the Wylys as Bush's "sleazy Texas buddies."

Late Monday, McCain announced that he had filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the ads were illegally coordinated with Bush's campaign.

A Los Angeles Times poll released Monday shows Bush leading McCain slightly in the popular vote in California, but with a commanding nine point lead among registered Republicans. Only GOP votes will count toward choosing the delegation that will attend the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Polls also show Bush ahead in key states such as Ohio, Maryland, Georgia and Missouri. McCain is leading in several New England states, including Massachusetts, while New York remain closely contested.

On Super Tuesday, Republicans will vote in 13 states with a total of 613 delegates at stake - nearly 60 percent of the total needed to win the nomination.

Democrats will vote in 15 states and in American Samoa, choosing 1,315 delegates.