Senate endorsement of President Barack Obama's nuclear arms agreement with Russia, which once looked close up to a sure thing, is now in danger.
The management is scrambling to get enough Republican hold up in the Senate to ratify the New START treaty before the Democrats' preponderance shrinks by six in January. Except Republicans have little enticement to give Obama a big following boost after leaving him reeling from their brawny gains in last week's congressional election.
A letdown to win passage possibly will trip up one of the administration's top foreign policy goals: improving relations with Russia. The agreement, signed in April by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, has been the most touchable sign of success, and failure to get it ratified could be viewed as a reprimand in Moscow. It also would leave Obama's push for even greater limits on the world's nuclear arsenal in uncertainty.