Camps Vie for 'Reformer' Label

McCain, Obama fight for 'nebulous' image of change
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 5, 2008 8:15 AM CDT
Republican presidential nominee John McCain waves to the crowed as he is joined by his running mate, Sarah Palin at the end of his acceptance speech.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – 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.”