KANW-FM

Ari Shapiro

On Monday morning, U.S. markets opened for the first time since Standard & Poor's downgraded America's credit rating. Stocks went over the edge like an Olympic diver.

A few hours later, President Obama stepped in front of a microphone at the White House to proclaim his confidence in the U.S.

"No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a AAA country," he said.

He left the podium, and the financial plunge continued.

So, does having the biggest megaphone in the country do the president any good?

President Obama added a trip to Dover Air Force Base to his schedule Tuesday. He was on hand — with top military leaders — for the return of the remains of U.S. military personnel killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

There's no such thing as an uneventful week at the White House. Yet even by the climactic standards of this presidency, the past week has been a big one.

President Obama might have hoped the biggest news story of the week would be his 50th birthday. Not even close.

When Monday dawned, it was still unclear whether the U.S. would run out of money to pay its bills. With hours to go until the deadline Tuesday, Congress finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama announced the resolution in the White House Rose Garden.

When White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley joined President Obama's team at the beginning of the year, he was expected to bring stability and a centrist approach to managing a sometimes chaotic White House.

His close connection to the business world was one of the strongest selling points as chief of staff. Daley built close friendships with business leaders during his years at JP Morgan Chase, and the White House hoped he could undo some of the bad blood that developed between Obama and business leaders during the first two years of the term.

When the clock ticked closer to a scheduled House vote on Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling last night, Boehner realized he did not have enough support from the Republican Party's right wing. He stalled, went into closed-door meetings, then called it a night. The votes that were supposed to happen are expected Friday instead — one day closer to default.

Pages