At the Pentagon, where Tower has been working in an unofficial capacity for the last two months, the mood was somber as the defeated nominee received dozens of telephone calls and visits from sympathetic acquaintances, including Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the service secretaries. Crowe brought him a small, wrapped gift.
For Tower, who headed the Senate Armed Services Committee in the early 1980s, it was the end of a career-long dream to run the Pentagon. Tower announced after the vote that he intends to resume his private life in Texas.
"I depart from this place at peace with myself, knowing that I have given a full measure of devotion to my country," he said. "No public figure in my memory has been subjected to such a far-reaching and thorough investigation nor had his human foibles bared to such intensive and demeaning public scrutiny."
Some Republicans speculated that Bush might later select Tower for another Administration post, possibly a job inside the White House that does not require Senate confirmation. Tower himself pledged to "speak out from time to time on national issues when my knowledge, experience and insights may contribute to public debate."
At the heart of Tower's troubles was a newly evolving standard of conduct for government officials--a standard that calls on them to avoid drug and alcohol abuse, show respect for the rights of women and avoid conflicts of interest. These are part of the stiff standards that Congress has imposed in recent years on the Pentagon and the military.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), who was Tower's leading accuser, argued consistently that the Senate could not confirm a person to run the armed forces whose behavior runs counter to the rules set for everyone else in the chain of command.
Allegations in Report
Nunn and other Democrats said that an exhaustive FBI investigation had found that Tower was a frequent binge drinker whose personality was altered by large quantities of alcohol, that he had a history of "indiscreet behavior" with women and that he showed no sensitivity to appearances when he resigned as chief U.S. arms negotiator and immediately went to work advising defense contractors for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tower's Republican defenders countered that the FBI's findings were based on unreliable witnesses and that the nominee had been denied the right to adequately defend himself against these charges.
Despite a herculean lobbying effort by the White House, it was Tower's pledge to stop drinking, if confirmed, as well as his personal ties with two senators that gained him the three Democratic votes. Nobody credited Bush with persuading them to vote for Tower.
Both Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) and Howell Heflin (D-Ala.) said they were willing to give the former senator a chance to live up to his no-drinking pledge. In addition, Bentsen felt strong ties to Tower after they served 14 years in the Senate from Texas.
Tower's third Democratic supporter was Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.). In 1967, Tower was one of five senators who voted against the censure of Dodd's father, former Sen. Thomas Dodd, on charges of financial misconduct.
Republicans fretted that the Tower affair might set what Wilson described as "a new, evil, ugly and dangerous precedent" for the nominating process, which usually gives the President broad latitude to select whomever he wants. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) suggested that future nominees should even be permitted to cross-examine their accusers.
But Nunn replied that the Tower nomination was a unique event in American history. As he put it: "I do not believe that we'll have another nomination with this number of allegations and this controversy in my lifetime."
Staff writers James Gerstenzang, David Lauter, John M. Broder, Melissa Healy, William J. Eaton and Josh Getlin contributed to this story.
ROLL CALL ON TOWER NOMINATION
\o7 Here is the vote by which the Senate on Thursday rejected the nomination of John Tower as defense secretary:\f7
Democrats for (3): Bensten, Tex.; Dodd, Conn., and Heflin, Ala.
Republicans for (44): Armstrong, Colo.; Bond, Mo.; Boschwitz, Minn.; Burns, Mont.; Chafee, R.I.; Coats, Ind.; Cochran, Miss.; Cohen, Me.; D'Amato, N.Y.; Danforth, Mo.; Dole, Kan.; Domenici, N.M.; Durenberger, Minn.; Garn, Utah; Gorton, Wash.; Gramm, Tex.; Grassley, Iowa; Hatch, Utah; Hatfield, Ore.; Heinz, Pa.; Helms, N.C.; Humphrey, N.H.; Jeffords, Vt.; Kasten, Wis.; Lott, Miss.; Lugar, Ind.; Mack, Fla.; McCain, Ariz.; McClure, Ida.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Nickles, Okla.; Packwood, Ore.; Pressler, S.D.; Roth, Del.; Rudman, N.H.; Simpson, Wyo.; Specter, Pa.; Stevens, Alaska; Symms, Ida.; Thurmond, S.C.; Wallop, Wyo.; Warner, Va., and Wilson, Calif.
Democrats against (52): Adams, Wash.; Baucus, Mont.; Biden, Del.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boren, Okla.; Bradley, N.J.; Breaux, La.; Bryan, Nev.; Bumpers, Ark.; Burdick, N.D.; Byrd, W.Va.; Conrad, N.D.; Cranston, Calif.; Daschle, S.D.; DeConcini, Ariz.; Dixon, Ill.; Exon, Neb.; Ford, Ky.; Fowler, Ga.; Glenn, Ohio; Gore, Tenn.; Graham, Fla.; Harkin, Iowa; Hollings, S.C.; Inouye, Hawaii; Johnston, La.; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerrey, Neb.; Kerry, Mass.; Kohl, Wis.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lieberman, Conn.; Matsunaga, Hawaii; Metzenbaum, Ohio; Mikulski, Md.; Mitchell, Me.; Moynihan, N.Y.; Nunn, Ga.; Pell, R.I.; Pryor, Ark.; Reid, Nev.; Riegle, Mich.; Robb, Va.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Sanford, N.C.; Sarbanes, Md.; Sasser, Tenn.; Shelby, Ala.; Simon, Ill.; and Wirth, Colo.
Republicans against (1): Kassebaum, Kan.