Things were looking good for President Barack Obama’s statement on the U.S. economy in the White House Rose Garden: the sun was shining in a bright blue late-August sky.

It was a chance to show that he was paying close attention to the issue most on the minds of Americans. The statement came just after he ended a 10-day vacation trip to the pricey resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, and before he launched into a week largely devoted to foreign policy, with an Iraq speech and Mideast peace talks on the agenda.

But everything wasn’t cooperating. Obama had to start his remarks three times because of technical problems with the White House sound system.

“It’s been nearly two years since that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse.  And at the time, no one knew just how deep the recession would go, or the havoc that it would wreak on families and businesses across this country.  What we did know was that it took nearly a decade…” Obama said, and then stopped himself mid-sentence, to ask: “How we doing on sound, guys?”

He then started again: “What we did know was that it was going to take nearly a decade in order…” And then he stopped again, and asked, “Can you guys still hear us? OK. Let me try this one more time.”