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“We Live For These Days”: The Scene at Time Warner

blitzerpanel_2-5.jpgIt’s not just any Tuesday: Hannity & Colmes in the early afternoon, Brian Williams at lunchtime and Cooper, Blitzer and Dobbs at high Noon. The networks have moved up their prime time talent, using them throughout this Super Tuesday. TVNewser attended today’s “CNN-Time America Votes 2008″ special at the Time Warner Center, which featured CNN’s biggest names.

With more than 60 audience members as well as a few dozen mall patrons curious about all the commotion, CNN kicked off its live hour-long special in The Shops at the Columbus Circle.

CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein took the mic 10 minutes before the NoonET show, introducing the audience to the panel. He also thanked the Borders book store, CNN’s makeshift stage was built in front of the store. “Thanks to Borders, especially after all the grief Lou (Dobbs) has been giving them about being broken,” Klein joked.

Campbell Brown, in her first live appearance since maternity leave, opened and closed the show. She will return to the network full time in March.

Wolf Blitzer welcomed Brown to, “the best political team on television” then led the first panel, discussing the Democratic race. He spoke with TVNewser following his portion of the show.

“It’s thrilling. For those of us who are political news junkies, we live for these days,” said Blitzer.

With the feeling of a general election, Blitzer said he’s gearing up for a long primary night. “Half the country is voting today. With all the Democratic states and Republican states, there’s going to be a lot of stuff to go through,” he said.

Joining each panel were analysts from both CNN and sister-magazine Time. Before the show began, Time managing editor Richard Stengel addressed the crowd, and complimented CNN. “CNN coverage of this historical election has been really singular,” he said. “They set the tone and then everyone follows in their wake.”

An interesting part of the behind-the scenes scrambling came each time the stage had to be set for a different panel. The moderator and analysts had to hurry off the stage in the span of a commercial break. Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs shared a quick laugh as Cooper gave up the moderator chair to Dobbs and his Independents panel.

Also, Roland Martin got a kick out of describing fellow CNN contributor Bill Bennett as “cute” to the crowd as they switched seats.


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