*Tonight marks the return of CNN’s “Crossfire” – the debate television program poised to take on hot topics in current events.
Last Friday, EURweb’s Lee Bailey joined other high-profile journalists from around the globe invited to speak with the hosts of the show on a conference call hosted by CNN public relations’ Edie Emery and Sam Feist, Washington D.C. senior vice president and bureau chief.
The host lineup for Crossfire is pretty impressive with Van Jones, former green issues advisor to the Obama Administration; and president and founder of Rebuild the Dream, an online platform focusing on policy, economics and media; speaker Newt Gingrich, the right-wing conservative who is accustomed to causing dissension and raising cain; Stephanie Cutter, a political and communications consultant who served as an advisor and deputy campaign manager on Barack Obama‘s election and reelection campaigns, and rounding out the team, political commentator S.E. Cupp, a writer who prides herself on being a “conservative atheist.”
Oh yeah, this should be interesting.
While the call was to introduce journalists to the hosts and talk about the program, the first question to actually make it through the technical difficulties zoomed right in on the “hot spot” topic dominant on the minds of many at this time: Syria, and the president’s response to it. Call it divine intervention or just plain luck, when the first two journalists chosen to ask their question had technical difficulties that didn’t allow them to be heard; the third journalist came through loud and clear.
Your question Mr. Lee Bailey?
Lee Bailey: OK. Can you hear me?
Sam Feist: We can hear you just fine. Thank you.
Lee Bailey: Oh. OK. I’m just wondering with this Syria, of course, dominating the news, what — I guess I can ask everybody, but Mr. Jones, since you came from the…White House, how did the president get himself in this pickle and how is he going to get out?
Sam Feist: So, I mean, Van, you’re welcome to answer as much as we can because I think at the interest of the folks on the call is about the show itself and the show is going to be a great debate on the issues, but Van, go ahead.
Van Jones: First of all, I am honored to be on this show and this is the kind of question people are asking all across the country, and that’s why we need the show like Crossfire so people can have these debates and we can hear the best from both sides. For me, the best I can tell, the president was trying — he spent about two years trying to not talk about Syria. He had a few other things to deal with. I think he did a brilliant job with Libya. He’s contained Iran. He’s got two wars going down on the flight path there, but I don’t think he prepared the American people to understand Syria, and you can’t start a car in fourth gear, and that weird sound you hear in Washington, D.C., the president trying to start a car in fourth gear when it comes to Syria.
Lee Bailey: All right. I don’t know if I get a follow-up, but…
Edie Emery: Sure. Go ahead.
Lee Bailey: OK. Then here’s something for all the panelists. What attracted you to Crossfire?
Newt Gingrich: Yes. I think that the — your question was a good example. Having people on both sides, somebody who says, you know, the president’s really doing a terrific job and the country’s — the country’s focused. They don’t understand. And somebody else says, The American people are pretty smart and it’s the president’s fault that they don’t understand. That’s almost the essence of the great Crossfire topic for an evening because then you get into the whole question of what’s the responsibility of the Commander in Chief to be Communicator in Chief before he issues the command and to what extent is it not his problem?
The Constitution gives him huge power to do things in-between elections and he got reelected. So to equity — I mean, any — that kind of conversation, people are going to — at the end of — our goal is at the end of 30 minutes, the people are going to say, That was interesting. I learned something from it. I’m thinking a little different about it and I’m really curious what they’re going to talk about tomorrow night.
Lee Bailey: Well, don’t you think the expectation that most people have is it’ll be a long partisan line? It seems like it’s set up to be that way or — but I could be wrong.
Rebecca Kutler: Actually, when we’ve talked about it, the four of us have four completely different views on Syria, for example. We come from four completely different places, and I think that’s pretty reflective of where the country’s at. Even Congress isn’t divided on Syria down partisan lines.
Technical problem solved….at this point other journalists joined in on the call.
Crossfire debuts on CNN tonight, September 9, 6p.m. EST.