Hillary Clinton pushes White House plea for Senate Republicans to support nuclear treaty with Russia

CLINTON: Well, Chris, I have a great deal of respect for all of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, in the Senate. And I think that everyone is trying to figure out how to do the right thing on this important treaty.

I would just make three quick points. One, this is in the national security interest of the United States. There's no doubt about it. In fact, what I was a heartened by and even a little surprised by at the NATO meeting was the number of people like Chancellor Merkel of Germany, like foreign ministers and prime ministers and presidents from the Baltic countries, from Central and Eastern Europe, like the editorial written by the foreign minister of Poland, people who on the ground in Europe, nearby Russia, many of whom were part of the former Soviet Union, who are saying, "Please ratify this treaty now, United States Senate."

Now, why are they saying that? Not because they have a dog in the hunt between Republicans and Democrats in our country. It's because they know that this would be an important treaty for the continuing cooperation between Russia and the United States.

Secondly, we do not have any inspectors verifying what Russia is doing with their nuclear stockpile or anything else that is going on in their sights. We lost that capacity.

If you talk to any of our intelligence experts like General Jim Clapper, the new director of the National Intelligence Agency, they will tell you we can cannot go much longer without that capacity restored.

And finally, this is in the tradition of not just bipartisan but nonpartisan action on behalf of arms control treaties, going back to President Reagan, who famously said, "Trust but verify." Well, right now we have no verification.

So what we are arguing is that we'll find the time in the lame duck. I understand the legitimate concern that there might not be enough time to debate, to make sure that everybody is well informed. But as Senator Lugar, who is one of the leading experts in the world on the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, on the necessity of having more insight into what Russia's doing -- he said we cannot wait. I agree with him.

On ABC's This Week, host Christine Amanpour asked Ed Luce of the Financial Times if failure to to get the Start treaty passed would show the U.S. can still be considered a leader in persuading rogue states and the rest of the world not to proliferate with nukes?

LUCE: Very, very difficult. I mean, Russia, of course, is a part of the six-party group with North Korea, and therefore its cooperation is also important there, as it is on Afghanistan, as it is on Iran.These broader implications for failing to ratify START here go across the world. Russia's cooperation is something that Obama has worked on very successfully, very patiently, along with Hillary Clinton, for two years now, and this puts it in jeopardy.

Just one other point, though, about Mitch McConnell's pledge to make Obama a one-term president. Clearly, that's going to be the strategy of the Republicans. Question is, are they going to do it intelligently or unintelligently? And I think Senator Kyl, his comments and his stance, indicate it could well be the latter.

And just one last point on Hillary Clinton.  As I've written several times over the past year, media types, and not just Fox News (though Dick Morris is the leading culprit) can never accept Hillary Clinton at face value when she says she will not challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president in 2012.  Once again, as if on automatic pilot, Fox News' Chris Wallace asked that question yet again at the end of his interview.  Hopefully Clinton's response will preclude him from ever asking it again.

"I've said it over and over again.  And I'm happy to say it on your show as well. I am committed to doing what I can to advance the security, the interests and values of the United States of America. I believe what I'm doing right now is in furtherance of that. And I'm very proud and grateful to be doing it."

GOP Senate intransigence on the New Start Treaty with Russia was a question that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked to weigh in on in her appearances on three network Sunday talk shows.

That treaty would bar the U.S. and Russia from deploying more than 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers each, and it would resume inspections that were halted when the first Start treaty expired last year.

But Senate Republicans, led by Arizona's Jon Kyl, have said that the treaty shouldn't be jammed through the lame-duck session of Congress.  Is he right?  Or is he just trying to deny the president any type of victory?

Evidence leans heavily towards the latter.  Especially when you have such Republican establishment figures as Henry Kissinger, James Baker and Richard Lugar saying there's nothing wrong with this treaty that it can't be approved right now, as Clinton urged on Fox News Sunday:

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