UPDATE: Sen. Joe Lieberman is tweeting his thumbs sore over Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Since cloture failed this afternoon, he has written that he and Sen. Susan Collins are introducing a free-standing measure that repeals DADT and that they have the votes to pass it.
The tweet screengrabbed above has been deleted, apparently in favor of one that explains how the bill will move forward before the end of the lame-duck session. NBC's Ken Strickland says the process they've got in mind takes at least three days, more if a senator decides to throttle the process.
EARLIER: A repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell failed moments ago in the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) made a surprise call for cloture over the objections of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has said she would vote for repeal. The call for cloture fell short by three votes, at 57 to 40. Among the no's were Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) and Sen. Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska), who've said they support repeal, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who's counted among the opponents.
After a number of "no" votes had come in, Sen. Collins ended up voting for cloture. At a presser just now with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), Ms. Collins said she wants to vote on an independent measure for repeal instead of an amendment to the overall defense spending bill. Why would Mr. Reid go for cloture now? "I just don't understand that decision," she said, arguing that it made no sense.
Unless it does, in a way other than trying to pass the bill.
Refusing to give into the Republicans' terms for the lame-duck session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is working to score a few last minute political points against the GOP before holding a vote on the Bush-era tax rate extension, and he's doing a very good job of it.
If he's right, then Sen. Reid is losing forward. The senator didn't sound like it afterward. "I regret to say that it is our troops who will pay the price for our inability to overcome partisan political posturing," Reid told reporters.
Greg Sargent reports that a Reid aide says the senator decided that Sen. Collins' demands for time to negotiate amendments were unworkable. In that view, he gave up on waiting.
ADDING: Andrew Sullivan looks at the Sargent and report and writes: "The bottom line: 'Reid couldn't be certain conservative Senators wouldn't use the proceedings to foul up the Senate, with time running out on other major priorities.' So, once again, the gays go to the back of line. Reid shares some of this blame - but the only real reason this hasn't gotten through is Republican opposition, in particular McCain."