July 27th, 2012
02:02 PM ET

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer travels to Israel to sit down with Mitt Romney

As GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney continues on his foreign policy trip, CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will join the candidate in Israel for a substantive interview. Blitzer will sit down with Romney to discuss the goals of his foreign policy swing, the latest on his campaign, the unrest in many regions around the globe and more. This interview will air on Monday, July 30 on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, 4 – 7 p.m. ET.

In addition, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will each sit down for an interview conducted by Blitzer. These interviews will also air on the program Monday, July 30 and Tuesday, July 31.

Not only is Blitzer known for his political experience, he has traveled the world providing in-depth reports on international affairs and news events to include the Iraq war in 2003 and the crisis in Israel between the country and Hezbollah in 2006. Blitzer began his career in 1972 with the Reuters News Agency in Tel Aviv. Shortly thereafter, he became a Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. Read more about Blitzer’s international expertise.


Topics: CNN
CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton announces he is stepping down at the end of the year
July 27th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton announces he is stepping down at the end of the year

Jim Walton told the CNN organization today that he will step down as president of CNN Worldwide at the end of this year.  He will continue in his current role until that time.  Jim’s decision has the support and respect of Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent.  Phil will lead the search for Jim’s successor. 

Employee note from Jim Walton is below as well as statements from Phil Kent and Jeff Bewkes.

Jim Walton note to staff:

After more than 30 years at this company and nearly 10 years as the leader of this great news organization, I have decided to leave my role at CNN on December 31, 2012. 

For some time, I’ve been talking with Phil Kent about wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision. I’ve told Phil that I will cooperate with any transition timeline that he and Time Warner want to implement.  Phil requested that I work out the year and be available after that if needed, which I’ve agreed to do. 

I am proud of what we have accomplished together over these last 10 years – innovative programming, the development of great talent in front of and behind the cameras, expansion in digital and mobile, significant investment and expansion in international coverage, financial success and, most importantly, great and trusted journalism.  Thank you for the role you have played in our successes.

CNN needs new thinking.  That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I'm ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.

The next few months will be filled with election news and other important events that will require all of our focus to report the news with the quality and expertise the world expects of CNN.  I look forward to working alongside each of you, as I have over the past 30-plus years, to do just that.


 Phil Kent quote:

Jim is the leader we all aspire to be: Smart and steady, tough and fair, business-savvy and respected by his team, and with a track record of great judgment when it matters most.  His vision has modernized and globalized our legacy news brand, enhanced CNN’s journalistic standing, positioned it at the forefront of multi-platform branded news content and challenged the organization to think bigger, reach further and do better.  I am honored to work alongside him and proud to call him my friend.

Phil Kent

Chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Jeff Bewkes quote:

When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was underperforming and earnings were in serious decline.  Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15 percent.  In his nearly 31 years of uninterrupted and distinguished service to CNN, Jim has been instrumental in growing the business into the financial powerhouse it has become, while establishing the brand as the worldwide leader for television news.  I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached.

Jeff Bewkes

Chairman and CEO, Time Warner Inc.

Topics: CNN
July 27th, 2012
10:31 AM ET

Chicago Alderman on Chik-fil-A: There will be consequences if there are discriminatory practices

Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno joins Starting Point to discuss his work with Chik-fil-A involving traffic congestion issues and non-discriminatory policy.

Moreno says, “I said from the beginning, it's not about what people believe or what they say. That's protected, and I would be the first to protect any of that. If those beliefs transfer into a policy, the discrimination, hiring, or in serving, then that's when I have an issue.”

When CNN Contributor Will Cain asks if he is suggesting that the company has been engaging in discriminatory practices, Moreno replies, “Well, I would suggest that if you've never heard that, if you talk to the Civil Rights Agenda, which is an LGBT group that’s dealing with some issues just like that in terms of firing or being felt unwelcome and inappropriate in their hiring of individuals that are in the LGBT community. They’re working on that.”

He continues, “My point was with beliefs have consequences, if those beliefs turn into actions and actions of discriminatory policy or the lack of protections for LGBT people, that's the issue. It's not the belief. If their belief turns into action, there are consequences and I'll clarify my statement.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Starting Point
July 26th, 2012
09:25 PM ET

Piers Morgan Tonight: Mitt Romney on gun legislation

Tonight CNN's Piers Morgan sat down with Mitt and Ann Romney at the Royal Naval College in England. Morgan asks his guests about the political debate that has risen in the aftermath of the movie massacre:

"President Obama, last night, in a speech, made a big speech which on the face of it, and he’s getting credit for this, looked like he was moving to change things," says the host. "If he called you up and said 'look, we need to get together in the wake of this, as I’ve said, the worst ever shooting, we need to get together, do a compromised deal, that just makes it more difficult for people like this to evade the system,' would you at least, in principle, be happy to have that conversation?"

Addressing gun control, which has quickly become one of the most polarizing issues in the country, the former Massachusetts governor cautions against sweeping changes:

"Piers, I don’t support new gun laws in our country. We have a lot of gun laws now. We have background checks and other restrictions on gun ownership in our country," explains the presumptive GOP nominee for the 2012 election. "But as you say, we have three hundred million guns in America. We have a second amendment that protects the right of people to bare arms. I support that. I think that the effort to continue to look for some law to somehow make violence go away is missing the point."

Topics: CNN • Piers Morgan
July 26th, 2012
05:30 PM ET

Admiral McRaven on bin Laden raid: One of history's "great intelligence operations"

In a rare interview, Admiral William McRaven spoke with CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. Admiral McRaven spoke with Blitzer about the events leading up to the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, if national security leaks are a security risk for America and much more. Parts of this interview aired today on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. A highlight of the interview is after the jump and a full transcript of the program will be posted on http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/sitroom.html.

Please credit all usage of the information to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer FULL POST

CNN – Gold medal in creative online Olympics coverage
July 26th, 2012
04:38 PM ET

CNN – Gold medal in creative online Olympics coverage

It’s Opening Ceremonies Eve, and just like the Olympic torch passes from one hand to another, CNN Digital is publishing one insightful and quirky feature after another that you’ll want to see at www.cnn.com/olympics. It’s not available yet, but hang tight, more will unfold over the course of the Games. That said, there are some cool things to read and look at now, including an interactive showing the evolution of the Olympic athlete since 1896.  The interactive shows results for men and women across several sports, and yes, sometimes the women have better results (I’m looking at you, discus). There’s also a special franchise called Human to Hero, which profiles Olympic athletes. You may want tissues handy, because of the emotional stories the athletes share, the standard of excellence they espouse, the sense that they’ve poured a lifetime into training for victory, the patriotism they feel…all of those emotions give the “I feel like I am there” voice to our online coverage.

And lest we not forget the fun stuff. The feature Olympic mascots, cute or creepy?, provides a history on Olympic mascots and the accompanied controversy where appropriate. There’s also plenty of photo galleries and other forthcoming editorial. If you want to see what the network is doing as a whole, check out our official press release.

Topics: CNN Digital • CNN International • CNN Photos • Video
July 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

John Berman’s Political Olympics

CNN Early Start Anchor John Berman draws a comparison between the Olympic Games and political maneuvers of the 2012 race.

Berman says, “Sadly the 2012 games do not feature golf or jet ski-ing as official events... so neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney will compete in London. But that doesn't mean they don't have their own games...no they have the Political Olympics!... Mitt Romney had to leap over his GOP foes...just to get here. You think jumping over Cain, Perry, and Gingrich was easy? Just ask Rick Santorum, he ended up with the silver.”

Berman’s package aired today in the 4p ET hour of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

Check out John Berman’s favorite Olympians of all time and why they made this esteemed list.

July 26th, 2012
08:50 AM ET

Rep. Rogers (R-MI): Gun control not the problem

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) discusses the Aurora shooting, explains why he is opposed to gun control legislation and weighs in on Mitt Romney's foreign policy plans.

Rep. Rogers says, “Trying to point to one incident and one type of weapon isn’t going to solve this problem. Matter of fact, it was against the law to have a weapon in the movie theater. Colorado has very strict gun laws. So, we have two things here. How do we get after the violent crime that’s happening in American cities today – a huge rise. And how do you deal with mentally ill individuals who are expressing themselves that they’re going to commit this crime…. You want to intercede with the mentally ill early in that treatment and allow counselors to talk to police when they’re making those kind of threats.”

When O’Brien asks why not challenge gun laws, too, and not sell AR-15s, Rep. Roger responds, “That’s not what killed those individuals in the movie theater. That weapon didn’t even function correctly, so that’s the trick. And that’s what I think is dangerous about saying this type of weapon we don’t like. If we focus all of our energy on that, the problem will go away. That’s not the problem. He was determined to kill people. And he had plenty of weapons on him when he walked into that movie theater….”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

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Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
July 26th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

Gov. Markell (D-DE) responds to Pres. Obama gun control comments: He hasn't waited too long

Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE) responds to President Obama’s comments on gun control and discusses negative ads and employment for disabled.

When CNN Anchor John Berman asks Gov. Markell if Pres. Obama has waited too long to address the issue, he replies, “I don’t think he’s waited too long…. Like most Americans, I certainly support the 2nd amendment, but I also feel it’s just an unbelievable tragedy every time one of these events happen. This is why in Delaware last year I pushed through three pieces of gun control legislation. There was a lot of resistance to it.”

Berman asks what he would like Pres. Obama do on gun control. Gov. Markell answers, “I leave that to him. We’re really focused on what we can do at the state level…. Lots of us certainly support the 2nd amendment, but we want to make sure that we’re keeping these weapons out of the hands of people like the guy in Colorado who just took the lives of so many people.”

Early Start with John Berman & Zoraida Sambolin airs weekday mornings from 5-7am ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
July 25th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

CNN to Broadcast Piers Morgan Tonight and World Sport Live From London During the 2012 Olympic Summer Games

Former Olympic Gold Medalist Linford Christie to Contribute to CNN’s Coverage


CNN’s Piers Morgan will be live on location broadcasting from London for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, airing in the United States on CNN/U.S. and globally on CNN International. This week, Morgan will interview Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and American Olympian Michael Phelps, among others.

CNN’s primary live location in London is a panoramic view of Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium.  With a reach of more than 200 countries, CNN International will expand its Olympic Summer Games coverage with World Sport, which airs live several times a day.  Former Olympic Gold Medalist Linford Christie will contribute to CNN’s coverage of the Olympic Summer Games.  CNN en Español will broadcast special coverage from London, and will feature web content on CNNEspanol.com. FULL POST

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