HOUSE REJECTS BAILOUT BILL, MARKETS TUMBLE…. Everyone knew the vote on the bailout package would be close, and it was. Everyone did not know it would come up short.

In a moment of historic drama in the Capitol and on Wall Street, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to reject a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry.

The vote against the measure was 228 to 205. Supporters vowed to try to bring the rescue package up for consideration against as soon as possible.

Stock markets plunged sharply at midday as it appeared that the measure was go down.

House leaders pushing for the package kept the voting period open for some 40 minutes past the allotted time, trying to convert “no” votes by pointing to damage being done to the markets, but to no avail.

Here’s the final roll call on the vote. A total of 140 Democrats voted for it, 95 against it, while 65 Republicans voted for it, 133 against it.

It was, of course, Republican opposition that scuttled the deal. Rumor has it that Boehner & Co. had promised to deliver between 80 and 90 Republican votes, and that clearly didn’t happen. With so many GOP lawmakers balking, fewer Dems had a reason to stick out their necks in support of the package.

Apparently, the new line from the right — repeated by Boehner, Gingrich, and some conservative bloggers — is that House Republicans ended up rejecting the bill because they didn’t like Nancy Pelosi’s speech on the subject. Seriously, that’s the excuse for the Republican leadership’s humiliating failure.

No word on whether John McCain will “suspend” his campaign again to get into “the arena.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.