The pressure was rising on California Congressman Gary Condit Friday, as colleagues who supported him as recently as Thursday demanded that he be more forthcoming with answers to questions surrounding the disappearance of Chandra Levy.
One such colleague, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, released a statement urging Condit to "tell all he knows."
"The focus needs to be on finding Chandra [Levy]. Congressman Condit must put aside any considerations for himself and tell all he knows about this case to law enforcement authorities without further delay. He needs to be truthful and forthcoming with the authorities to help them find Chandra. And the authorities must get to the bottom of this disappearance."
And Georgia Republican Bob Barr called for Condit to resign, urging the congressman to step down during an interview on former Senate candidate and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North's radio program. Barr also asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to begin an inquiry into Condit's behavior.
The comments from Barr and Boxer mark a shift in the attitudes of some Capitol Hill lawmakers toward their colleague. Earlier in the week, many members of Congress were reserving judgment and were reluctant to speak out about the matter, and most congressional colleagues seemed willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"When someone hits a rough spot, do you throw him overboard? I don't think so," said Rep. Anna Eshoo, who is like Condit a Democrat from California. "None of us here, Republican or Democrat, kick people when they're down."
Republican Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., agreed that "none of us is here wishing him ill."
"People don't want to judge him because they don't know all the facts," Foley said. "It's almost a Shakespearean tragedy — you wish the water torture would stop."
Still, privately, many House members say they are aghast at the series of revelations linking the married, 53-year-old Condit to the missing 24-year-old intern and other young women. Some find fault with the way Condit has handled the matter, particularly his unwillingness to address it publicly in more detail.
From a purely political standpoint, Republicans could have a prime opportunity to pick up Condit's seat if he either resigns or is politically weakened by scandal. President Bush carried Condit's district in the 2000 presidential election and local Republicans are already gearing for a bid to take the seat in 2002.
Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the fund-raising National Republican Congressional Committee, said the GOP does not anticipate that Condit will resign in the meantime.
"There's no vacancy right now. I have no reason to believe there will be. But we understand the landscape," Davis said.
Democrats said they would prefer to defend Condit's House seat in November 2002, when all seats are on the ballot, rather than in a special election, which would occur if he resigned. They also say they have received no indication from the congressman that he intends to step down.
"There's definitely a sense of a need to plan for the Democratic future in that district that wasn't there a couple of weeks ago — and discussions of who would be the strongest candidate to save the seat," said Gale Kaufman, a Sacramento political consultant who ran Bill Bradley's presidential campaign in California last year. "And it's no longer idle speculation, it's serious discussion."
Condit, for his part, is keeping up appearances of normalcy. He chatted frequently with other lawmakers during debate Thursday on campaign finance legislation and he took part in meetings this week with a coalition of Democratic conservatives known as "Blue Dogs." Since May 1, he has missed only three roll call votes.
"We hope the outcome is positive for him and his family," said Rep. Jim Turner, D-Texas, another member of the Blue Dog group.
The Associated Press contributed to this report