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START Treaty: The votes are there

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 5:08pm

In what's shaping up as another win for President Obama, key Republicans Tuesday announced support for the new START nuclear treaty.

That turnaround comes as Democrats keep up their push to pass parts of their agenda in the last days of the lame duck Congress,

The big Senate moment came when number-three Republican Lamar Alexander said he'd vote to ratify the START treaty with Russia.

"It leaves our country with enough nuclear warheads to blow any attacker to kingdom come," Alexander said.

It also provides billions to modernize U.S. weapons, money that will be spent in Alexander's home state of Tennessee.

A parade of Republican experts said start would not stop the U.S. effort to build anti-missile defenses against Iran.

Tennessee's other Republican Senator, Bob Corker, says he believes them.

"I'm here today to state my full support for this treaty," he told Senate colleagues.

As debate ended start seemed sure to be ratified, with at least nine Republicans voting yes.

Meanwhile, Democrats celebrated their win on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at a Capitol Hill ceremony.

President Obama will sign the bill into law tomorrow.

The victories are early Christmas presents for Mr. Obama.

Still, despite pressure from 9/11 first responders, Republicans are resisting a bill to pay for their medical problems, and the Democrats 2011 spending plan was blocked.

The Obama string of wins could soon end.

Republicans are about to get more seats, more power and more say in America's agenda.

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