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September 25th, 2013
11:12 AM ET

Cutter: I planned a protest for the homeless

With the return of "Crossfire" to CNN, we are taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, Stephanie Cutter, former White House Senior Adviser, reflects on how she was inspired by her grandfather at a young age to enter public service.

“I grew up in a very active household; my grandfather was very involved in local politics and taught in Massachusetts, and he always had a carful of grandkids, going to different events, going to the fire station, the police station, the town hall meeting, going around and hearing their concerns,” Cutter explains. She says this influenced her to pursue a life in the public sector, but says “I think at that early stage I didn’t know politics was the answer, but I knew I wanted to pursue something that helped change the world.”

Cutter also tells the story of her first organizing experience, when she planned a protest for the homeless while spending a college semester in Washington: “I organized a protest where I got college kids to sleep outside in solidarity with the homeless in Dupont Circle. We slept on grates on a cold December night.”

Reflecting on this experience, she said she didn’t know it would lead her to where she is today: “I don’t think anybody did. But that’s part of the beauty of this - once you get into public life and public service you have no idea where it’s going to lead.”

"Crossfire" airs on CNN weekdays at 6:30pm ET.

September 24th, 2013
12:42 PM ET

Newt Gingrich's love for ABBA and McDonald's

With the return of "Crossfire" to CNN, we are taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this peek into host Newt Gingrich’s life outside of politics, the former House speaker and 2012 presidential candidate reveals his unusual phone ringtone and his fondness for a certain fast food establishment.

Gingrich’s ringtone choice, ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” comes from his appreciation of the musical movie “Mamma Mia,” which he says is “an amazing achievement” and “as energetic and compelling as any scene I’ve seen in a musical, so I really get a kick out of it.”

Gingrich, noted for his love of the latest technologies, also divulged that his wife has a McDonald’s app on her phone, allowing them to locate the nearest restaurant anywhere in the world. Gingrich says he is a particular fan of the Chicken McWrap, noting it is “fairly low cal.” In the next breath, when asked his favorite food, Gingrich doesn’t miss a beat: “A McDonald’s ice cream cone.”

"Crossfire" airs on CNN weekdays at 6:30pm ET.

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Filed under: About the hosts • Newt Gingrich
September 23rd, 2013
12:47 PM ET

Van Jones: A father first

With the return of "Crossfire" to CNN, we are taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama for green jobs, shares what comes first in his busy life: his children.

“Like probably most dads, my main thing, 80% of my brain is taken up thinking about my kids,” Jones says. “We can argue back and forth about politics but at the end of the day I’m worrying about my boys and how they’re doing and how they’re getting along in the world.”

Jones’ kids, ages 5 and 9, are on both sides of the talent spectrum. “I’ve got an older boy that’s an incredible athlete; the kid can play any sport imaginable,” Jones continues, “and I’ve got another son who is very introverted, he seems to be more like an artist like me.”

Jones, who commutes from Los Angeles to host Crossfire in Washington, says he prefers seeing his kids rather than the D.C. politics scene. “I think a lot of people are either real political animals. They’re here in Washington, D.C. they’re going to every event they can, they’re networking… when I’m here I’m reading books. I’m Skyping with my kids.”

Jones’ time is split; yet, he persists for his perspective to be heard. “I want to be heard on some of these topical issues but my roots are back in the grassroots heartland of America, not in Washington, D.C.”

“Crossfire" airs on CNN weekdays at 6:30pm ET.

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Filed under: About the hosts • Van Jones
September 23rd, 2013
12:43 PM ET

S.E. Cupp on ballet and hunting

With the return of "Crossfire" to CNN, we are taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, host S.E. Cupp discusses her past as a childhood ballet dancer and her passion for hunting.

Cupp, a ballet dancer since age six, performed with prestigious dance companies until her late teens. “Our Christmases were oriented around when my ‘Nutcracker’ performances were,” Cupp explains. "It was a full time job."

Now, Cupp says she spends much of her free time hunting and fishing. "I guess you wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but that’s what I love doing," Cupp explains. She says these activities have allowed her to combine her love of the outdoors with charity work. During one hunting expedition with female military veterans in Alaska, Cupp described her most memorable catch: “I got to bag a 200-pound black bear. It was awesome.”

"Crossfire" airs on CNN weekdays at 6:30pm ET.

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Filed under: About the hosts • S.E. Cupp
September 8th, 2013
02:55 PM ET

Newt Gingrich’s wild animal adventures

With "Crossfire" returning to CNN this Monday, September 9, CNN is taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, Newt Gingrich opens up about one of his passions aside from politics and history – his love of animals and the outdoors.

Gingrich and his wife, Callista, have traveled all over the world to see different animals. He says one of the most amazing experiences was seeing mountain gorillas in Rwanda. “We’re looking at a family of mountain gorillas, and not 10 feet from us a mother gorilla is laying on her back with a baby gorilla on her tummy, and they kiss,” he describes. ”It doesn’t get any better than that.”
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September 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Van Jones on watching “Crossfire” through the eyes of his father

With "Crossfire" returning to CNN this Monday, September 9, CNN is taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama for green jobs, reflects on his memories of watching “Crossfire” with his father and on his hopes for the future of the program.

Jones, who says he doesn’t come from a traditional Washington background, says as a teenager in the early 1980s, he learned a lot watching the program with his father, whom he describes as a “black ex-military Southerner” who didn’t agree with liberals or conservatives. “I got to understand through his eyes that there’s way more points of view in America than you can ever get on TV,” explains Jones. “So I’m excited about getting a chance to bring some of those perspectives.”
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Filed under: About the hosts • Van Jones
September 8th, 2013
02:05 PM ET

Stephanie Cutter on creating Michelle Obama's 'Let’s Move!' campaign

With "Crossfire" returning to CNN on Monday, we’re taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

Stephanie Cutter, who joined the 2008 Obama campaign as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, reveals the process behind developing the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” health initiative, which is dedicated to ending childhood obesity.

Cutter says the first lady first began floating the idea during the 2008 campaign, and it evolved from Michelle Obama’s experiences as a working parent. “She tells the story of working a full-time job and figuring out what she could give her children for dinner, and it was just easier to drive through the drive-thru,” explains Cutter.
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September 8th, 2013
12:42 PM ET

S.E. Cupp: Being a conservative atheist is not a contradiction

With "Crossfire" returning to CNN this Monday, September 9, CNN is taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this first video, S.E. Cupp, a columnist, commentator and author, delves into her experiences with understanding religion and what it’s like to be an atheist and a conservative.

"To me, it never seemed like a contradiction," Cupp explains. "We have the same values," Cupp says of herself and religious believers. "I just think I get them from somewhere else."
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Filed under: About the hosts • S.E. Cupp