The Gallup tracking poll Thursday has Obama leading McCain by four points, his widest margin in two weeks. And that is because many voters are furious that the federal government allowed speculators and short-sellers to damage the economy, and failed to oversee greedy companies like Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, which trafficked in bad loans, hurting millions of investors.

Now, as we pointed out Wednesday night, a big contributor to the chaos is SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, a Bush appointee. And Thursday, Senator McCain called for Cox to be fired.

Too late. Under the Bush administration, rules about short-selling and speculating were under-enforced, to say the least. And now we, the people, are paying the price. The economy is a mess.

Listen to this. Fired Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O'Neal walked away with $161 million after ruining his company. Countrywide credit boss Angelo Mozilo also ruined his company. He got out with $24 million. Meantime, stockholders in both companies lost billions.

That is wrong, ladies and gentlemen. That is rigged.

It is the responsibility of the federal government to stop this corruption, and so the folks are livid. And some of them will vote Democrat because of that anger.

Nevertheless, the race remains very tight.

A state-by-state poll Thursday is interesting. Compiled by a new outfit called the Big 10 Battleground Poll, the data shows an intense race in the crucial Midwest. In Minnesota, Obama leads by two percent. In Wisconsin, Obama's ahead by just one point. In Ohio, a must-win for McCain, Obama is up by one. In Michigan, Obama leads by four points. Indiana has McCain up four percent. Pennsylvania, dead heat, tied. As is Iowa, tied, which is surprising because other polls have Obama up big there.

The poll was taken during the Wall Street meltdown, which reversed itself a little bit Thursday, and is the work of political scientists at the University of Wisconsin. Apparently, McCain is winning with men; Obama with women.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Our pal Matthew Modine, the actor, is a committed liberal. But Modine walks the walk or rides the ride, as the case may be. The actor is encouraging all Americans to ride bicycles instead of driving.

Now, I think that's a great idea. Good exercise, saves money, cuts pollution, you get run over by a bus — watch it — and Matthew is driving around. He's a patriot, Modine. I mean, you may not agree with his politics, but the guy, you know, he's sincere.

On the pinhead front, there's a basketball player named Josh Howard. He plays for Mark Cuban's team, the Dallas Mavericks, and apparently, Mr. Howard isn't real fond of America.

Click here to watch "Pinheads & Patriots."


JOSH HOWARD, BASKETBALL PLAYER: "The Star-Spangled Banner" going on right now. I don't even celebrate that (EXPLETIVE DELETED), because I'm black. (EXPLETIVE) Obama, all that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


OK. Mr. Howard is a pinhead, of course. Mark Cuban said: "Josh is really a good guy with a great heart. He just doesn't do a good job of showing that side of himself publicly. We will work on that."


You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com