Stephanie Cutter just got another new job today thanks to President Obama. Just over two and a half months since the former White House staffer debuted on CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire with co-hosts Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones, Cutter is back working for her old boss – at least partially. Obama Tuesday named his former Deputy Campaign Manager as a Member for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” said Obama in a statement announcing Cutter’s appointment and several others today. With the political consultant as one of its four rotating hosts, Crossfire came back after 8 years odd the air on September 9 this year with modest ratings. A low impact patronage post, the Committee traditionally has the current First Lady as its Honorary Chair and Michelle Obama serves in that capacity for her husband’s administration. Cutter was Mrs. Obama’s Chief of Staff during the 2008 campaign. READ MORE »
Discussing his latest career move as star of CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire, a few days before its launch, Newt Gingrich said it is not possible to make a “neutral” documentary about Hillary Clinton. Which is just what his new network has proposed to do. Asked his thoughts on the Republican National Committee’s decision last month to block CNN from GOP presidential primary debates during the 2016 election cycle because it is working on a Clinton docu, Gingrich said he thought CNN — and NBC, which has said it is developing a Hillary Clinton miniseries — should offer equal time. “I actually don’t believe you can create a neutral documentary about Hillary Clinton,” Gingrich said. Gingrich never did say what he thought about the RNC’s decision to block CNN from the GOP primary debates; the RNC also voted to block NBC from the debates because of its Clinton miniseries project, which Gingrich also called a “documentary.
“I don’t see it as a giant deal,” he said of the CNN docu, adding, “I don’t think Hillary’s survival or failure are going to rest on these two documentaries.”
CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire unveils tonight with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter debating with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as to whether Congress should approve a military air strike on Syria. The show will premiere as the commercial broadcast networks are airing their interviews with President Obama on the same subject — and CBS airs yet more footage of Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad, in which Assad warns the U.S. to “expect everything” in retaliation if an air strike occurs.
And yet, Crossfire’s Van Jones told reporters on the eve of the show’s return to CNN that Syria is exactly why the U.S. needs Crossfire, “so people can have these debates and we can hear the best from both sides,” he said modestly in a conference call. Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama, gave reporters a taste of his Crossfire style on the phone call, when he was asked why Obama is seeking congressional approval for an air strike on Syria in response to White House claims that Assad used chemical weapons on civilians last month.
In what it’s billing as a first for a TV news program, CNN’s Crossfire will offer viewer voting using Poptip technology that tallies votes of the program’s daily debate question. Via Twitter using #CrossfireReturns, on CNN’s live blog, or by commenting to the show’s Facebook page, users will be able vote in real time. Results will be announced during the program, which premieres tonight at 6:30 ET after its launch was moved up a week. CNN boasted the deal will allow viewers of the resuscitated debate franchise to choose their interactive second-screen experience via Twitter, Facebook, or CNN.com/Crossfire to vote via mobile, tablet, or desktop platform and weigh in on the issues debated on the program. From today’s announcement:
CNN’s cancelled Crossfire has officially risen (as we told you back in April) like the phoenix from the ashes and will return to the network’s schedule this fall. This time, the political right will be represented by former Speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, and S.E. Cupp, a conservative columnist, commentator and author of the book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack On Christianity. On the left: Stephanie Cutter, a partner at consulting firm Precision Strategies which was launched earlier this month with three veterans from the Obama 2012 campaign team. Also on the left: Van Jones, the Yale-educated author of The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild The Dream who is founding president of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that promotes innovative policy solutions for the U.S. economy.
“Few programs in the history of CNN have had the kind of impact on political discourse that Crossfire did — it was a terrific program then, and we believe the time is right to bring it back and do it again,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in today’s announcement.
The political screechfest previously aired weeknights from 1982-2005. Jon Stewart famously appeared on the show in October 2004, ostensibly to promote his book America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction, but mostly to slam the show. “It’s hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop… You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.” Stewart said calling Crossfire a debate show was “like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.” The appearance went viral and the show’s days were numbered.
Here’s the release: