"It's too early to rush to judgment. We have to wait until the facts are in," he said.
Frederick County, Md., Democrat Timothy D. McCown, who has launched a campaign for Bartlett's 6th District seat, agreed.
"It's hard to know what's true and what's not," he said. "We all need to be a lot more careful" with the facts.
Whatever the truth, Bartlett expressed concerns that the torrent of allegations could prevent the president from doing his job. He cited the crisis in Iraq, where the United States has charged that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors.
"It may very well be that we'll have to use military force against Iraq," he said.
Bartlett questioned whether Clinton would be in a position to do that.
Bartlett strongly rejected suggestions by Hillary Rodham Clinton that the allegations are part of a right-wing conspiracy.
McCown, while saying Clinton's enemies might not be the source of the charges, said there are many who would like to see him go down.
"There is a right-wing conspiracy out there. Whether this is concocted remains to be seen," he said.
If the allegations prove true, however, McCown said Clinton should resign and save the country a fight over impeachment.
"That's an 'if,'" he said.
Despite the deluge of media reports, the American public seems ambivalent about the scandal. A majority in opinion surveys say Clinton should be removed from office if allegations of lying and suborning perjury prove true.
But allegations that he had sex with a 21-year-old White House intern have drawn mixed results. More than half say they don't consider that an important issue.
"It doesn't surprise me, but it depresses me," Bartlett said. "I think it indicates we may be losing our moral compass."