To be even more precise, the official time stamp read 12:03:14 am, Ramsey would tell me Wednesday. Ramsey believes that the Senate acted honestly to invalidate the vote once the true time emerged, though the change on the Texas Legislative Office’s website remains something of a mystery.

A little after 3 am, senators flooded back into the chamber; the tall, patrician-looking Dewhurst gaveled them back to order and announced that the abortion bill had not passed before the midnight deadline. He turned to leave the dais, but then stooped back to the microphone one more time and grinned: “It’s been fun but see ya soon.” Later, he told reporters, according to the Statesman: “An unruly mob, using Occupy Wall Street tactics, disrupted the Senate from protecting unborn babies.”

The long night in Austin was over—but not the debate. The sun came up and the temperature soared. Later Wednesday, Perry called the legislature back into a second special session at the pink-domed capitol. By then, the Morning News’s Christy Hoppe had perhaps the best recap of the crazy night, under a simple headline: “About Last Night: How the Abortion Bill Failed.”

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Richard Parker is CJR's Texas correspondent. A regular contributor to the Op-Ed section of The New York Times, his columns on national and international affairs are syndicated by McClatchy-Tribune. He has also twice been appointed the visiting professional in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow him on Twitter @Richard85Parker.