POLITICS

McCain Confuses SEC with FEC

Fumbling, again, some of his economic messaging, McCain confused the Federal Election Commission for the Securities and Exchange Commission during his speech on the housing and financial crises Friday morning.

Calling for SEC Chairman Chris Cox to step down, McCain declared: "I believe the chairman of the FEC should resign and leave office immediately."

It was the second straight day in which the Senator made a verbal flub. On Thursday he actually called for Cox to be fired, only to be reminded, via an ABC News report, that the president cannot axe the SEC Chairman.

That McCain would substitute FEC for SEC may seem like an innocent rhetorical misstep. But it plays into a broader criticism of the Senator: mainly that he is uncomfortable with matters pertaining to the economy. The FEC, after all, is a regulatory agency that deals with the financing of federal elections. The SEC is an independent agency that enforces federal securities laws and regulates the securities industry.

The rest of McCain's speech Friday morning, it should be noted, was as memorable as the gaffe. The Senator ripped Obama for his ties to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (both via campaign contributions and advisers). And he all but blamed the Illinois Democrat -- and his allies in Congress -- for the current crisis in the market.

As Senator Obama's leader in Congress memorably put it the other day -- and I quote -- "no one knows what to do." Perhaps given that reaction, it shouldn't surprise us that the Congressional leaders of this do-nothing Congress also said that they weren't going to take action until after the election, claiming that it wasn't their fault. I am hopeful that last night's discussions are a sign they have changed their mind and will take action soon. But any action should be designed to keep people in their homes and safe guard the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system.

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Two years ago, I called for reform of this corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress did nothing. The Administration did nothing. Senator Obama did nothing, and actually profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairman of the committee that oversees them. And while Fannie Mae was betraying the public trust, somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent's trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search.