Nightly News | December 18, 2010
>> obama has long supported repealing don't ask, don't tell and while it's taken longer for him to get it done than many supporters had hoped, the timing may give him a political boost. nbc's mike bacara is at the white house .
>> reporter: it's less than two months from that electoral shellacking but the president has had unexpected success with help from unlikely political allies. after he campaigned on a pledge to do away with don't ask, don't tell, supporters of repeal, many of them core democratic voters, had grown frustrated with the president, accusing him of dragging his feet. today in a statement, mr. obama welcomed the breakthrough, saying it's time to close this chapter in our history.
>> here we go.
>> reporter: passage comes a day after another obama victory, the signing of a tax package negotiated with republicans. and mr. obama 's winning streak might not be over. in his weekly address, the president pushed for one more big vote before the holidays, ratifying the s.t.a.r.t. arms reduction treaty with russia.
>> it's time to show the same spirit of common purpose on our security that we showed this week on our economy.
>> reporter: many republicans are opposed.
>> the united states should not be placing any constraints, any constraints, on our ability to defend ourselves.
>> i fully support this treaty.
>> reporter: the president has the backing of other prominent gop voices and the treaty could be ratified by midweek. it all adds up to an unexpected political rally for mr. obama .
>> he is in a better position politically than he's been in i think in more than 20 months. you see him and his team recalibrating and trying to make sure that they're tailoring a message that is no longer partisan, that is about governing and getting results.
>> reporter: with republicans taking over the house in three weeks, and with greater gop numbers in the senate, there are bound to be battles next year. but some believe two party rule could mean a little less political grid lock.
>> so you could see a mutually beneficial situation between the president and congressional republicans both showing that they can compromise, they can get things done.
>> reporter: lester, there was one defeat for the president and democrats today. the dream act has all but died in the senate. now, the bill would have offered a path to citizenship to children who are brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own. today, democrats unable to overcome a republican filibuster. lester?