Sorry seems to be...
Now you weren't expecting him to say sorry, were you?
This Chancellor doesn't do sorry. Instead he turned the story of having to halve his growth forecast and add five billion on to his borrowing figures into a tale of triumph over adversity in what he called "this toughest and most challenging year".
Despite, he told the country, a hike in oil prices, sluggish growth in Europe and the slowdown of the housing market, all has not gone awry.
Nonsense, say his opponents, he was wrong and predictably wrong. The Tories even went so far as to hint that the Chancellor had been telling pre-election lies about the state of the economy. What's at stake is not so much major policy choices - unless, that is, you've an interest in an oil company.
No, the pre-Budget report was all about political reputations. The reputation of a Chancellor who all assume - barring accidents - is headed for Number Ten. The reputation too of his Shadow, George Osborne, whose friend David Cameron all assume is about to become the new Tory leader.
This week sees the start of a new political era. New personalities - Team Cameron versus New Labour's dynamic duo - will fight over new political turf - who can manage Britain best when finances are tight. Today was simply round one of a bout that will last from now, yes you've guessed it, through until the next election.