Prospects for Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as the nation’s 81st attorney general dimmed Wednesday after he again refused to equate waterboarding with torture and more Democrats on a key committee announced they would vote against him.

Freshman Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced from the Senate floor that he would oppose Mukasey’s confirmation. The retired federal judge’s refusal to say that waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, is “unconditionally wrong” would leave open the possibility that U.S. agencies could cross a moral and legal line and use it on detainees, Whitehouse said. He laid the blame for Mukasey’s answer at President Bush’s feet.