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CNN Eyes Election-Coverage Sponsorships

New York -- Looking to line up election sponsors, Cable News Network rolled out a Who’s Who
of its on-air talent Thursday as it unveiled its plans for its "America Votes 2004" political coverage.

During a breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria here, which had an overflow attendance of more than 260, CNN outlined the special programming it has scheduled for its yearlong election coverage.

The news network’s game plan includes expanding flagship weekday Judy Woodruff’s Inside Politics
to one hour and adding a weekend edition of the political show on Sunday mornings.

To reach voters in the heartland, CNN is also rolling out the "CNN Election Express," a bus equipped with studio and editing facilities that will permit the network’s political team, and shows like Crossfire
, to broadcast live from any location in the country.

CNN gave media buyers and advertisers a taste of what it had to offer in terms of election coverage during two panels, one moderated by Woodruff and the other by Larry King.

First, moderated by Woodruff, there was a mini-debate on the presidential election where Crossfire
James Carville, Paul Begala, Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak sparred.

That was followed by a panel that included Woodruff, Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn, Jeff Greenfield, Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley, Bill Schneider and Victoria Clark.

CNN is looking to sell five to six sponsorships for its election coverage and to reap as much as $30 million from them, according to executive vice president of ad sales and marketing Greg D’Alba. DaimlerChrysler is already on board, and CNN expects to lock in two more in the next 10 days.