Another gaffe?

"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 nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president.

The McCain camp's response:

Asked how McCain would fire Cox if the president does not have the formal power to fire the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the McCain campaign pointed to former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt who resigned in 2002 when it was made clear to him that he had lost the confidence of the Bush administration.

"Not only is there historical precedent for SEC Chairs to be removed, the President of the United States always reserves the right to request the resignation of an appointee and maintain the customary expectation that it will be delivered," said McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds.

Ok, but McCain still couldn't "fire" him.

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