The Columns

CNN at W&L

— by on October 30th, 2012

The CNN Election Express rolled into Lexington on Saturday, Oct. 27, as part of its ongoing Battleground State Bus Tour and spent about 18 hours on the Washington and Lee campus.

Producers had asked to have a group of students participate in a town hall-style meeting to discuss the campaign and the issues. In addition, CNN contributor John Avlon, who is also a senior columnist for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, did several live “hits” from just outside the bus, with Lee Chapel in the background.

Fifteen Washington and Lee seniors joined five seniors from Southern Virginia University for a wide-ranging, hour-long conversation in front of the cameras in the Hillel House. A three-and-half minute spot from that session aired on CNN Sunday morning and was also posted to CNN.com and YouTube.

You can see that video below.

In addition, Avlon posted a blog about the session, quoting several of the students and concluding with this compliment:

“Talking with these engaged, informed students was refreshing and a rebuke to the kind of cynical political consultants who believe policy isn’t important in presidential campaigns. These students have done their homework and they care passionately about the future of our country. And that’s good news for whichever candidate wins this election.”

In addition to Avlon, CNN reporter Ali Velshi has toured with the Election Express, which started in Florida and came to Lexington from Winston-Salem, N.C. Velshi missed the town hall meeting because he was on another assignment. He drove into Lexington late Saturday night and rejoined the bus just long enough to be reassigned to follow Hurricane Sandy. If you watched the CNN coverage, you might have seen Velshi standing in the middle of a street in Atlantic City. It was a far cry from the quiet tour of Lee Chapel he had taken less than 24 hours earlier.

Watch the video of the CNN town hall: