When the credit rating firm Standard & Poors cut Americas credit rating in August, it was a watershed moment. It was a subtle shift from a AAA rating to AA+, but no one had ever questioned the creditworthiness of the country. S&P cited the nation's growing debt, which has topped $15 trillion, and lack of political will to reduce it. The downgrade spooked financial markets and meant that Treasury bonds are, for now, rated lower than bonds issued by countries such as Britain, Canada and France. In this photo, a teleprompter being read by U.S. President Barack Obama shows a sentence written in defiance of the lowering of the U.S. credit rating, Aug. 8, 2011.
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