McCain Blasts Obama on Economy, Say He'd Fire SEC Chair

ABC News' David Wright, Alyssa Litoff, Bret Hovell and Imtiyaz Delawala report: At a joint rally near the tarmac here, Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin accused the Obama campaign of taking political advantage of the financial crisis.

"My opponent sees an economic crisis as a political opportunity instead of an opportunity to lead," McCain said.

Said Palin of Obama: “He likes to point the finger of blame, but does he ever lift a finger to help?”

McCain accused Obama of taking more campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives than anyone aside from the chair of the Congressional committee that regulates the lenders.

“While Sen. Obama was lining his pockets with campaign contributors, he didn’t lift a finger” said McCain, who took credit for warning Congress of the impending crisis two years ago.  McCain also noted that the former head of Obama’s Vice Presidential search Committee Jim Johnson  was formerly a Fannie Mae executive.

The Obama campaign says when Sean Hannity asked Palin last night whether there should be an investigation of campaign contributions by Fannie and Freddie executives, she deferred saying, “that’s significant, but even more significant is the role that lobbyists play in this.”

Obama campaign staffers note that several of McCain’s top advisors – including campaign manager Rick Davis, vice presidential vetter Arthur Culvahouse, and McCain consigliere Charlie Black – lobbied on behalf of the mortgage giants.

At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa today, McCain took a major portion of his remarks to lay out how he will focus on fixing the current crisis on Wall Street, which he says he will discuss in more detail tomorrow.

McCain slammed the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for being "asleep at the switch" saying that if he were president, he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the SEC since 2005 and a former Republican congressman.

McCain said the SEC has allowed trading practices such as short selling to stay in place that turned the "markets into a casino."

"The regulators were asleep, my friends," McCain said. "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president. And in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him."

But while the president appoints and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, it's not clear either has the authority to remove him. Chairman Chris Cox's term expires in 2010

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