McCain Blames Greed for Wall St. Mess; Obama Blames GOP

Obama and McCain trade blows over the economy.

ByABC News
September 16, 2008, 8:02 AM

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y Sept. 16, 2008— -- An angry Sen. John McCain indicated today that as president he would launch a 9/11-commission style investigation into what he called "the old-boy network and Washington corruption" that created the current Wall Street crisis and has endangered peoples' savings and retirement funds.

McCain and his White House rival Sen. Barack Obama traded furious accusations and charges Tuesday on the economy as both campaigns jostled for position on the unfolding financial meltdown.

The economy had already been established as the No. 1 issue for voters, but the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the fire sale of Merrill Lynch, and the desperate efforts of American International Group to avoid collapse has rattled Main Street as well as Wall Street.

Watch Wednesday's exclusive interview with Sen. John McCain and Cindy McCain aboard "Good Morning America's" Whistle Stop Express starting at 7 a.m. ET

The future of AIG, the country's largest insurance company, hung in the balance Tuesday. Its stock dropped 61 percent since Monday and the federal government ruled out any taxpayer rescue. McCain said Tuesday he agreed with the decision of the federal government to not intervene with AIG saying taxpayers should not be "on the hook" for AIG's problems.

"We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else. This is something that we're going to have to work through," he said.

McCain's stance on the economy has been under attack from Democrats since he released an ad Monday that said the economy was in crisis, but later gave a speech saying the "fundamentals of our economy are strong." He defended himself Tuesday and laced into a denunciation of corporate greed.

"I said the fundamental of our economy is the American worker. I know that the American worker is the strongest, the best, and most productive and most innovative," McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC's Chris Cuomo on "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

"They've been betrayed by a casino on Wall Street of greedy, corrupt excess -- corruption and excess that has damaged them and their futures," he added.