CNN Takes 'Non-Traditional' Approach with Election Specials

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CNN political analyst and radio talk show host Roland Martin will host a new series of specials that “will challenge his guests and viewers to leave the political talking points behind” and discuss the issues voters are really talking about. The first installment, 7 Weeks to Go, will air Saturday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. ET.

CNN officials said Martin (pictured) and the panelists will explore how age, race and gender have played a pivotal role in this election and whether bias—instead of the issues—could be a deciding factor on Election Day.

Panelists will include: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, host of TLC’s Shalom in the Home; political writer Amanda Carpenter of townhall.com; cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis; CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Joe Madison, talk radio host for WOL-AM in Washington, D.C.; Irshad Manji, director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University; Joe Pagliarulo, conservative talk radio host for KTRH in Houston; comedian Freddie Roman; CNN contributor Leslie Sanchez; Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain; and Martha Zoller, conservative talk radio host for WDUN in Gainesville, Ga.

The second special, 6 Weeks to Go, set to air on Saturday, Sept. 20, and Sunday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. ET, will examine the American middle class. Martin and a second team of panelists will examine whether the candidates have turned their backs on struggling middle-class families amid signs of recession and a mortgage crisis.  They will investigate how the candidates address these issues as well as what the voters would like to see them do.

5 Weeks to Go will air on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. ET, the day after the first presidential debate. This post-debate program features Martin and panelists discussing what the candidates didn't address.  In addition, CNN's viewers will have the opportunity to respond to what they did or did not hear during the debate. This special will re-air on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.

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