Barack Obama, who would get a vote, and John Edwards, who wouldn't, today joined rival Chris Dodd in announcing their opposition to Michael Mukasey as attorney general.
Mukasey's nomination once appeared headed for smooth sailing, as US senators of both parties praised his professionalism and record as a federal judge.
But his nomination has hit a couple of rocks lately over his refusal to specifically say whether he considers an interrogation technique that simulates drowning amounts to torture and over his statements about extending presidential authority.
Both Edwards and Obama issued statements criticizing Mukasey's stand on waterboarding and on executive authority.
"We need an Attorney General who will put the rule of law above the administration's short-term political interests, and Mukasey has already shown that he's unwilling to do that," the Edwards statement said. "The credibility of Justice Department has been badly tarnished, and it is now clear that Mukasey is not the man to restore it."
Obama's statement said, "We are a nation of laws, and those laws apply equally to the President of the United States and common citizens. We need an attorney general who understands and appreciates that inviolable principle."
Hillary Clinton, who also serves in the Senate, weighed in later, saying she could not vote for Mukasey when he has had plenty of chances to clarify his answers and state his opposition to interrogation techniques.
"We cannot send a signal that the next attorney general in any way condones torture or believes that the president is unconstrained by law," Clinton said, according to the Associated Press.