John Tower's pledge to swear off alcohol if approved as defense secretary left two undecided Senate Democrats unmoved Monday and pledging they will go over all evidence on the nominee's character before deciding how to vote.
A third Democratic senator considered by some a swing vote, Bob Graham of Florida, said he is leaning against the nomination despite Tower's pledge."I think it (the pledge) helps, but it's not just the drinking which is a problem to me," Graham said in Miami.
"It's a pattern of bad judgment - bad judgment in the 1970s in drinking, bad judgment by placing himself in compromising positions as the U.S. arms negotiator in Geneva in the mid-'80s, bad judgment in accepting large sums from the defense industry in the late 1980s."
Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama, one of several Southern Democrats still considered open to the White House lobbying effort for Tower, said on ABC's "Good Morning America," that he has "to review all the evidence. I'm trying to be open-minded, judicial and fair about it."
Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said on the ABC program that he would vote against Tower if the vote were Monday despite the embattled nominee's extraordinary pledge on Sunday.
"I think that if we have a serious doubt, if any senator has a serious doubt about the competence of a candidate, that he should err on the side of safety," said Breaux. "In that case, it indicates voting negatively."
Asked whether Tower's promise to refrain from drinking had swayed him, Heflin said he plans to read the classified FBI report on Tower Monday and "will review the evidence of the drinking problem."
Heflin said he will consider "does he have a drinking problem that might be a detriment to the United States' national security" and "does he have a temptation propensity that might return to drink."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on CBS "This Morning," meanwhile, that Tower's vow should put the drinking questions to rest "because John Tower is a man of his word. . . . So I think that particular issue ought to be gone."
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, held a late-morning meeting on the Tower nomination with Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan. Neither would comment afterward.
Sen. John Warner of Virginia, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would have no comment on Tower's pledge. Tower made his pledge against alcohol in televised interviews Sunday, saying he would be "obliged to resign" if he broke the vow.
At the same time, Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., said he might reconvene Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings to hear testimony in public about the former Texas senator's drinking habits.