Obama praises McCain's commitment to abolishing nukes

The White House went out of it's way to praise John McCain today after the Arizona Republican called for an end to nuclear weapons.

In a floor speech today, McCain cited Ronald Reagan's stated commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons and said the U.S. should work steadily toward that goal.

"[T]he Cold War ended almost twenty years ago, and the time has come to take further measures to reduce dramatically the number of nuclear weapons in the world's arsenals," McCain said. "In so doing, the United States can---and indeed, must--show the kind of leadership the world expects from us[.]"

President Obama quickly released a statement concurring with McCain's goal of a nuke-free world.

"I welcome Senator McCain's important statement on President Reagan's legacy and the need to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons," the President said, adding that he "look[s] forward to working with Senator McCain and the entire Congress to ensure that we accomplish these goals together for the American people and the security of the entire planet."

The President stated his desire to abolish nuclear weapons in a speech in Prague earlier this year.

The agreement between the President and his former rival comes as arms control advocates are pushing a number of treaties and international agreements--including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and a bilateral agreement with Russia--aimed at curbing nuclear proliferation.

The CTBT, which would ban nuclear testing, is seen as the holy grail for many non-proliferation advocates. Opponents say the U.S may need to conduct tests in the future to ensure the reliability of its current stockpile.

McCain opposed the CTBT when it came up for a vote in 1999 but said during the campaign that it was time to reconsider the measure. In his speech today, he was deliberately vague, saying the treaty was one of "a number of important decisions in the coming months."

Obama, for his part, pledged during his Prague speech to push for ratification "aggressively and immediately."

As an international treaty, the CTBT needs 67 votes to pass, and McCain's support is seen as crucial in convincing a number of moderate Republicans to sign on.