Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want to question State Department officials in writing Bolton, said Andy Fisher, spokesman for the committee's chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., on Wednesday. Committee Democrats strongly oppose the nomination of Bolton, who is now undersecretary of state.
CBS News Correspondent Bob Fuss reports the delay provides more time for Democrats to try to persuade Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chaffee, who says he's inclined to vote for Bolton but hasn't stated flatly he will.
Republicans have a 10-8 edge in the committee. A tie vote could block a recommendation to the Senate to approve Bolton, whose managerial style and criticism of the United Nations have come under attack in two days of committee hearings.
The postponement was agreed to during a talk between Lugar and the committee's senior Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, said Norm Kurz, an aide to Biden.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken issue with testimony by a former State Department intelligence chief, Carl Ford Jr., that Bolton was a "serial abuser" of lower-level officials who challenged his analyses of other countries' weapons programs.
"That is certainly not the John Bolton I know," she said at a State Department news conference.
Describing Bolton as an effective diplomat, she called for prompt Senate action on his nomination, saying the United States needs to have an ambassador in place in New York.
Rice also said she believed "in the right of dissent" within the department. But she said once there was a decision it should be supported across the board.