But the week's perhaps most revealing moment came from President Obama himself. And here's ABC's senior political correspondent Jon Karl with "This Week in Politics."
KARL (voice-over): In 2008, it was all about hope and change. What two words will define Obama 2012?
OBAMA: I haven't quite boiled it down to a bumper sticker yet, our vision for the future. That's three words, four.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's five, actually.
KARL: Math aside, this week it almost sounded like hope and change are being replaced by grim and grimmer. First, the grim, words you've never heard from an incumbent president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There are so many people who simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you convince them that they are?
OBAMA: Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.
KARL: And then the grimmer.
BIDEN: A significant majority of the American people believe that the country is not moving in the right direction. That is never a good place to be going into a re-election.
KARL: No wonder those Occupy Wall Street protests are starting to look like a national movement, from New York and Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City and beyond.
To Republicans, it's not another Tea Party movement.
CANTOR: I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country.
KARL: Mitt Romney called the Occupy Wall Street protests "dangerous," even "class warfare," but he's got bigger things to worry about.
ROMNEY: I'm just trying to get -- get myself to occupy the White House.
KARL: And, protesters, Herman Cain's got some advice for you.
CAIN: Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job, and you're not rich, blame yourself.
KARL: This week was the last gasp of the non-candidates.
CHRISTIE: Now is not my time. New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me.
KARL: Sarah Palin opted out, too, but didn't get as much attention, not that she cares.
PALIN: I wanted to, you know, just kind of put the marker down and say, no, I'm not running, not have a big press conference about it, not make a big, darn deal about it, because this isn't about me.
KARL: Romney's pollster suggested this week he is playing political Whack-A-Mole. Every time one big rival falls, another pops up, bam, bam, bam, bam. The latest to pop up, Herman Cain.
Trending this week, Cain up. One poll has him tied for first. A best-seller, too. Obama down, now the underdog. Just ask him.
OBAMA: I don't mind. I'm used to being an underdog.
KARL: Perry up, in cash, anyway, $17 million in just 49 days. But also, down, fourth place in the Values Summit straw poll. Ron Paul up. He won that straw poll, and won it big.
Hank Williams, Jr., down. He compares the president to Hitler; now he's taking his song and his rowdy friends out of here.
For "This Week in Politics," I'm Jonathan Karl.
AMANPOUR: Let's bring in our roundtable now, George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, and George W. Bush's former chief strategist, Matthew Dowd.
George, is President Obama going to rue the day he said that comment -- he made that comment about not being better off than four years ago?