John McCain and Barack Obama are both laying claim to an agenda of “reform”—but neither has offered a clear idea of what that means, writes Jonathan Weisman in the Washington Post. In opening speeches last night, the words “reform” or “reformer” were spoken 11 times. McCain’s camp says the calls aren’t for “programmatic” reforms, but rather something “both more sweeping and more nebulous,” Weisman notes.
McCain advisers discuss “a reform of attitude and conduct,” while an ex-aide said “it's whatever that viewer happens to believe is reform.” A conservative activist defined the concept as “cutting spending, cutting earmarks.” Meanwhile, Obama’s team is fighting to keep McCain from establishing a monopoly on the reformist image. For starters, it's slamming Sarah Palin for taking millions in earmarks for her small Alaskan town and labeling her calls for reform “a complete fabrication.”