CNN moves up 'Crossfire' to seize debate over Syria action

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,CNN,Syria,Television

President Obama might be unready to pull the trigger on Syria, but CNN sees the pending congressional debate over war in Syria as its signal to fire up its new debate show "Crossfire" a week earlier than planned.

CNN, which has a record of dominating the ratings when major political debates are before Congress, will now debut "Crossfire" Monday, Sept. 9. It will air weeknights at 6:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. and feature hosts Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones.

The cable network changed its plans after Obama's speech Saturday on Syria, when he decided to hold off an attack until Congress has a chance to debate it. The U.S. was planning cruise missile strikes on government installations in retaliation for the chemical attack conducted by Syria's ruling regime that killed women and children.

The decision was made by CNN President Jeff Zucker and "it wasn't a difficult decision," said a CNN insider.

Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist told Secrets, "The team is ready. The hosts are ready. The set is ready. And since it's hard to imagine a more important debate than whether to support the use of U.S. military force, we decided that Crossfire was the right forum to host that conversation."

Feist broke the news via Twitter.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.