President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to personally plead House Democrats not to sink his trade agenda.
He failed. And it wasn't close.
In a dramatic early-afternoon vote, the House rejected the Trade Adjustment Assistance package, 126-302. At least 140 Democrats voted against Obama.
And it was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who cast the final blow. Speaking just before the vote for 15 minutes, Pelosi, who had kept silent on the issue, said she would oppose the president.
"We have an opportunity to slow down.... We want a better deal for America's workers," Pelosi said, objecting to the inability of the House to offer amendments. "Why are we fast-tracking trade and slow-walking the highway bill?" Pelosi said she was prepared to vote against TAA in order to delay Trade Promotion Authority, or "fast track" legislation.
That was precisely what Obama had urged his fellow Democrats not to do.
Friday morning, the president told Democrats to "play it straight, play it straight," said Rep. Henry Cuellar. In other words, don't vote against TAA just as a means to kill fast-track.
Part of the president's pitch to lawmakers to vote for TAA referred to a man named Tim, one of Obama's clients in his days on the South Side of Chicago. Tim was displaced by the closure of a steel factory, said Rep. Gerald Connolly. The message: "Here's a real-life human being I met, that I knew. He had a son with health issues, and every day, I get up, I think of him. And you should, too."