By Alex Kingsbury, Washington Whispers
The Nobel Prize committee may have been easily swayed by President Obama's quest for a world free of nuclear weapons, but getting the Senate to actually cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal looks to be a far tougher sell. Still, word on the Hill is that the New START treaty got a surprise boost last week. Sources say several Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee are now considering backing ratification of the arms treaty that the White House negotiated with Moscow earlier this year.
Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar has already announced his support, and three others have hinted privately that they might be on board after heavyweights James Baker, Henry Kissinger, and Brent Scowcroft concurred that New START will not affect any U.S. missile defense plans, a key GOP objection to ratification. "The chances of a 'yes' vote now are at 30 percent, up from zero percent last week," says one senior Senate staffer. Others are a little more cautious. "It is still an open issue," says a GOP flack.