You can tell when a magician loses his touch. Even if the tricks work, you can see the effort involved.
U.S. President Barack Obama was travelling the country this week, working hard to pull more than $800 billion US out of his hat to help the U.S. economy. He stopped in several cities and held his first major news conference.
Congress agreed to give him the money, for the stimulus plan that has become the centerpiece of his new administration. But it was a real effort, without any of the euphoria that had been surrounding him.
Obama is still astoundingly popular, but his role is evolving. The remarkable man who made history is now a working politician again, a president who doesn't automatically get his way.
He was hoping for an easy agreement with the Congress, but he was forced to plead for the stimulus money instead.
Remember how excited America was about its new president?
America is still excited, but either Obama has lost some of his magic or may need a little more practice with his wand.