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from The Great Debate:

Clean up Washington: mission impossible?

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Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Can any U.S. administration avoid the fate spelled out in the following 12 words? "We were elected to change Washington and we let Washington change us."

Thus spoke John McCain when he formally accepted the Republican party's nomination for president last September. He then listed a number of reasons why the party had lost the trust of the American people, including that "some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption".

Those temptations cut across party lines and stem from the relentless rise of a system, over the past three decades, which has given special interest groups enormous influence over policy-making and led to what Robert G. Kaiser, author of a just-published book on lobbying, calls "a kind of ethical rot in the nation's capital".

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