Taking his cue from his boss, President "The Buck Stops Anywhere Else" Bush, embattled SEC Chairman Christopher Cox says his agency is in tip-top shape, despite presiding over an unprecedented financial meltdown and the $50 billion Bernie Madoff fraud. In his first interview since the Madoff case broke, Cox said monitoring the investment banks that went under during the financial crisis was not his agency's responsibility and that the Madoff case was "a big asterisk" on an otherwise strong record of enforcement. He said the agency's "steady hand" has been its "signal achievement"—a veiled attack on the more active Fed and Treasury Dept.—but critics contend that Cox's proud passivity contributed to the meltdown in the first place and let crooks like Madoff raid the store without notice. He will be replaced by Obama pick Mary Schapiro next year.
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