January 18th, 2012

CNN to Host Final Debate Ahead of Crucial South Carolina Primary

John King to Moderate Jan. 19 Face-Off; Blitzer, Cooper, Burnett, O’Brien, Crowley Anchor from Charleston

On Thursday, Jan. 19, just two days before the highly anticipated primary election in South Carolina, CNN and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) will present a presidential town hall debate live from the North Charleston Coliseum. The two-hour debate will begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be moderated by CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King.

Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, John King and Soledad O’Brien will anchor their respective programs live and on-location in Charleston on Thursday. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 21, the anchors will be live beginning at 6 p.m. from the CNN Election Center for America’s Choice 2012: South Carolina Primary. A special edition of Anderson Cooper 360° will air at 11 p.m. followed by a special live midnight edition of Piers Morgan Tonight. Candy Crowley will report from South Carolina throughout Saturday evening and will anchor State of the Union on Sunday, Jan. 22.

Reporting from the field in the days leading up to the debate and primary in the Palmetto State will be national political correspondent Jim Acosta, senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash, CNN Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins, senior political correspondent Joe Johns, anchor Don Lemon, and national correspondents David Mattingly and Gary Tuchman. On the trail with the GOP candidates are reporter-at-large Peter Hamby, political producer Rachel Streitfeld, political reporter Shannon Travis and South Carolina-based political producer Shawna Shepherd.

The following five presidential contenders will participate in Thursday’s debate: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. In addition to questions posed to the candidates by King and southern Republicans in the audience, CNN will solicit questions and comments submitted in real-time from CNN.com, the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook and by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.


In the days leading up to the South Carolina primary, CNNPolitics.com will be the online destination for all news and analysis related to the 2012 Elections.  New for the South Carolina primary, CNN has launched the GOP Delegate Calculator.  After each caucus or primary, users can try their hand at predicting which candidates will win each state and eventually, the Republican presidential nomination.  CNN.com will also provide a CNN Electoral Map with the most recent predictions on battleground states as updated by CNN’s political experts as well as the 2012 Primary Caucus Calendar, an interactive datebook where users can slide over a specific month to see when states will hold their primaries and caucuses throughout the year.

On the day of the primary, CNN.com will live stream the events in South Carolina and live blog the night’s developments. As the primary results come in, users will be able to track them in real-time at the CNN Election Center. To engage and comment on election night news as it happens, users can view the CNN Politics Facebook page for political stories and photos of CNN’s favorite faces and also follow @CNNPolitics on Twitter for breaking developments all night.
CNN iReport, the network’s global participatory news community, will be asking for submissions related to the South Carolina primary, some of which will be shown on CNN.com and broadcast on CNN.

Across CNN’s mobile platforms, the latest election stories and opinion pieces will be available via CNN’s mobile website and on the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet.  The new Election Center section can also be accessed on CNN’s mobile platforms.  Additionally, all apps will carry live video of candidate speeches and events.  On election night, live results can be viewed on CNN’s mobile website and in the CNN App for iPad.

CNN en Español and CNN International

Starting at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, CNN en Español anchor Juan Carlos López will be joined by the network’s team of political contributors Maria Cardona, Roberto Izurieta and Juan Hernandez for pre-debate analysis. At 8 p.m., CNN en Español will take the debate live with simultaneous interpretation followed by 30 minutes of post-debate analysis.

The debate will also be carried live on CNN International.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.