Barack Obama could not bring two battling political parties together to forestall the steep budget cuts, but did manage a feat of more cosmic proportions.
The president brought two universes together and did it by boldly going where no politician should ever go: confusing Star Wars and Star Trek.
Mr Obama's mixing of science-fiction metaphors crossed a final frontier, setting the nerdiest corners of the internet ablaze.
The president was answering reporters' questions in the White House briefing room shortly after the last-minute meeting with the House of Representatives and Senate leaders.
Mr Obama rejected the idea of using burly Secret Service agents to keep politicians from leaving until everyone agreed on a budget.
"I am not a dictator. I'm the president," he said, explaining that he would not do a "Jedi mind meld" with the US Congress' top two Republicans to persuade them "to do what's right".
But Jedis are from Star Wars, while mind-melds happened on Star Trek. Mr Obama might as well have joined the Dark Side.
The reaction from Yoda-quoting nerds, Washington insiders and even Hollywood heroes was swift, as the presidential mishmash of sci-fi references went viral.
Mr Obama turned off geeks who had considered the president to be one of them with a slip of the tongue that was almost as bad as confusing Klingons and Ewoks, or even Democrats and Republicans.
Even Mr Spock of Star Trek joined in. "Only a Vulcan mind meld would be effective on this Congress. LLAP," Leonard Nimoy emailed, signing off with the abbreviation for "Live long and prosper".