Washington, Sept.30 : The House of Representatives vote scuttling the 700 billion dollar financial bailout plan is being described as one of the most stunning debacles of modern times, and the biggest losers seem to be President George W Bush and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
If House Republican leaders are to be believed, the bill went down because a dozen or so members changed their votes to "no" after partisan remarks by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi offended them.
The other prominent loser - Bush -- has privately told associates the country doesn't listen to him anymore.
According to the New York Daily News, Bush has shown leadership by pushing hard, but lacks the moral authority to follow through.
The only major politician who necessarily has not come out looking worse is Barack Obama.
He wasn't a decisive player in the doomed deliberations, but he didn't grandstand, either. Besides, fresh economic jitters usually help Democrats, says the paper.
Republicans were already being blamed for the laissez-faire policies that created the mess. Now they're sure to be tarred for killing a bipartisan plan to fix it.
"The House Republican leadership just got Barack Obama elected," a senior New York Democratic lawmaker predicted.
According to the paper, Pelosi delivered more of her Democrats than the opposition, but a tough floor speech gave some Republicans a fig leaf to vote no.
The speaker also violated a cardinal rule: never bring a crucial bill to the floor unless the votes are there.
As far as John McCain was concerned, he rushed back to Washington to take charge of the negotiations and whip balking Republicans into line, but just didn't seem to cut ice with them.
His own side repudiated House Minority Leader John Boehner's counsel. "These are the votes that separate the men from the boys and the girls from the women," he warned colleagues. They didn't care.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ended up being the "wrong front man to sell this (the bailout package) to the average person."