Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discusses the immigration bill's collapse on the Senate floor Thursday night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senators on all sides of the immigration bill were quick to assign blame for the bill's defeat Thursday night.
"We just cast a dumb vote," minority whip Trent Lott complained in the Senate hallway.
The veteran Republican from Mississippi blamed Reid for pushing for the vote too early. In fact, Lott said that just an hour before the critical vote he pleaded with Reid to give GOP leaders just 12 more hours to secure more votes. "He decided not to," Lott lamented.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, who helped write the bill, also blamed Reid for curbing GOP amendments to the bill. He said 10 to 12 more amendments could have pushed support for the bill up to 65 to 70 votes.
"I still think that's possible," said Graham, who vowed to find a way to get the issue back on the floor. "I'm hopeful that we'll get our act together and try to find a solution to this problem. We're very close. That's frustrating."
But Democrats passed the blame to Bush, who they said sunk the bill with his hands-off despite his support for it.
"When the president calls Harry Reid and says I can get some more votes for you, we'll come back to it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, a supporter of the bill. "But until that time we can't. They say he made some phone calls but he could only deliver six or seven votes."
Schumer also doubted Lott and Graham's contention that more time and more amendments would have won more votes.
"It would have been two or three days away, then two or three days away, then two or three days away," Schumer said. "It will change when the president really gets involved."
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, a fierce critic of the bill, was also angry about how Bush talked about opponents of the measure.
"People who complained about this bill, I've never sensed they were anti-immigrant. There's no bigotry, there's no fear of diversity. The president has really stumbled using those kinds of words. What these folks want is a legal system that works," he said.
"I think everybody loses," said Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina. "(There) seems to be unanimous agreement in the country that the status quo is unacceptable."
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, agreed.
"This is a bill with serious shortcomings but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself, what are the consequences of doing nothing? People are saying this bill is amnesty? Amnesty is doing nothing."
Commerce Department Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a top administration negotiator on the bill, didn't want to answer a reporter's questions about what went wrong.
"I know as much as you do," he said while walking away. "I'm not going to second-guess this until I get more information."
Another key player who didn't want to talk was Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a presidential contender and key supporter of the bill, which is unpopular with many of the conservative voters he is trying to attract.
Moving quickly past reporters after the vote, he responded to questions by saying, "I don't have anything to say. I'm sorry. I don't have anything to say. I apologize. I don't have anything to say. Thank you."
- CNN Congressional Correspondent Ted Barrett