The new “Crossfire” on CNN isn’t just putting more conservative voices on mainstream TV; it is bringing suspense back to political debate, according to new co-host S.E. Cupp.


“It is actual debate. S.E. Cupp is not going to win the debate every night,” Cupp said today at Heritage’s Bloggers Briefing.

“Our goal isn’t to pick winners or losers,” she said. But she does want the show to demonstrate the breadth of conservatism and help sharpen communication within the movement.

“Conservatism always has the opportunity to make the better case,” Cupp argued. “When we mess it up, that’s on our shoulders.”

The new “Crossfire,” which returned to CNN on Monday night with co-hosts Stephanie Cutter and Newt Gingrich, gets away from the typical “idea that a conservative or liberal is put on a show as a token,” according to Cupp. She credits the other members of the team — including Cupp and Gingrich, who represent the right, and Cutter and Van Jones, who represent the left — as experienced debaters.

And the conservatives and liberals won’t always agree with their own sides.

“Most conservatives don’t agree on everything,” Cupp noted. Cupp thinks that’s a good thing to bring to mainstream TV and called for a new standard of judging conservatives by how effective they are, rather than how “conservative.”

Two of the four hosts will appear on each show, discussing one topic per episode that is chosen daily by the hosts via teleconference. Tonight’s guests are former Republican Senator Rick Santorum (PA) and former Independent Senator Joe Lieberman (CT).

At the end of each show, in a new addition to the “Crossfire” format, hosts will call a “Ceasefire” and find some small point of common ground on the topic.

“It’s not always going to be politics,” Cupp added. She hopes to include cultural topics on the show. For example, she’s talked to “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson about having him on to talk about conservative values in reality television.

Cupp’s debut with Van Jones is tonight. Tune in at 6:30 p.m. ET on CNN and chime in on social media with #CrossfireReturns.