Gupta, the neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent, withdrew his name from consideration, purportedly to spend more time with his family.
The news disappointed many Indian-Americans and was particularly distressing to the Gupta Girls, a group of women who have been maintaining a fan site for Dr. Gupta, whom they've dubbed the "Sexiest Doctor on the Face of the Planet."
"We're utterly devastated," said the group's leader, an Atlanta woman who prefers to be known just as a Gupta Girl. "We thought he would definitely go to Washington. Some of us had even bought homes there."
More than 5,000 Gupta Girls had planned to attend Dr. Gupta's swearing-in ceremony, she said. "The Obama inauguration was big, but for us, this would have been bigger. We were going to dance all night at the Gupta Girls Ball. We were excited about taking our photos with Dr. Gupta and had already ordered several cutouts of him."
She could not confirm if any of the women on the bridge were Gupta Girls, but said it was highly likely. "Our email discussion list has more than 100,000 subscribers. Most of them have taken the news very hard. We're trying to arrange counseling for them. It's been a tough year. First the economy and now this."
Police cars blocked one lane of the bridge as an unidentified officer used a bullhorn to try to persuade the women not to jump. “Think about your children,” he said. “How are they going to manage without you?”
“Children?” one woman shouted back. “You think if I had children, I’d be filling my hard drive with pics of Dr. Gupta!”
"Tell Dr. Gupta to reconsider," another woman yelled. "He's thinking about his family, but what about us?"
A spokesman for CNN said Dr. Gupta could not comment, as he was busy preparing a segment for CNN called "Ten ways to keep yourself from going into depression."