Super Mario has taken a hit. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's efforts to fight the crisis have for the first time been foiled by that most formidable of adversaries: European politics.
Draghi came onto the job in November with a bang - making interest rate cuts that his predecessor had delayed and taking emergency measures, such as cheap loans to banks, that eased the debt crisis temporarily.
So when he declared last week that the ECB would do "whatever it takes" to save the euro, markets believed him and rallied hard.
But Draghi disappointed those investors at a news conference on Thursday: instead of announcing new, concrete measures, he said the ECB was working on a plan of action.
The reason is there was one holdout, Germany. The country's central bank, which is traditionally cautious about stimulating the economy for fear of creating inflation, refused to back his latest plan for new bond purchases that would drive down countries' borrowing rates.
Instead, the plan will go through committees for approval. Global markets tanked on the news.
Draghi the fleet-footed pragmatist, it seems, has been caught up in Europe's web of politics.
"Today's conference really has shown who is king," said Craig Erlam, a market analyst at Alpari UK.
The German central bank, or Bundesbank, is highly influential within the ECB, and has been uncomfortable with the ECB's emergency measures, both the cheap loans to banks and the purchases of government bonds.
Now, it seems, the Bundesbank is shortening the leash and digging in its heels.
Its refusal to back an ECB plan for more bond purchases, sending it to review by committees, has undermined Draghi's authority and tarnished his image as a policy communicator.
Analysts say Draghi is still trying to push for creative, perhaps even unconventional, solutions to the debt crisis - but he is increasingly facing resistance from some of the continent's more cautious bankers, particularly the Germans, who are wary of taking excessively risky steps.
"I think he had a honeymoon period when he could come in and have the support of the whole ECB board, certainly on day one," said Kit Juckes of Societe Generale.
"That is partly the problem now. He is trying to push the envelope, and he is trying to sail as close to the wind as he dares with the ECB mandate, and I guess the people at the Bundesbank would like to keep him honest."
The ECB's mandate is mainly to control inflation and only then promote growth.
When Draghi came to the ECB, it was with a long history as a crisis manager and behind-the-scenes negotiator.
But despite his background, some believe that Draghi's flexibility may be overestimated and that he remains committed to both the spirit and letter of the ECB's treaty.
In that he may not be quite as far as some think from his predecessor, the notoriously anti-inflation Jean-Claude Trichet.
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