Hosting a cable news show could be considered a taxing job in and of itself. For CNN’s Ali Velshi, it only takes up one of the 24 hours available to him in a given day.
As CNN’s chief business correspondent, Velshi has been tapped to wear multiple hats for the network. His latest role? Hosting CNN International's daily one-hour program, "World Business Today." That's in addition to his already demanding schedule at CNN's American branch, where he reports every day and hosts "Your Money" on the weekends.
Velshi served as an interim host for CNN’s former morning show, “American Morning,” before the network announced it would be dismantling the show at the end of 2011.
CNN's morning show ratings had been floundering for months, falling behind MSNBC's "Morning Joe," and Fox News' dominent morning program, "Fox and Friends." While Velshi served as co-host, the network decided to bring back former "American Morning" anchor Soledad O'Brien, and completely overhaul its morning programming. Velshi was given the CNN International show instead.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Velshi said that his new show has awarded him “a lot of real estate” across CNN’s platforms. In addition to the U.S., Velshi will now reach prime time audiences in India, China, and Japan.
But while Velshi can boast a broader reach among CNN's worldwide audiences, there's still an elephant in the room: CNN International is not as high profile as the network's American wing, and a morning slot is a coveted one at most networks. So does Velshi's new role really work better for him?
"I'm always game...If they need to fill a spot for a little while, I'm happy to do it," Velshi said. "I didn't dislike doing 'American Morning'. I really enjoyed it, but this is probably more suited to the kind of personality I am." While acknowledging that the schedule was challenging, he described his new gig as a dream situation for a business journalist.
Velshi said he has the opportunity to go from discussing global financial issues in the morning on CNN International, to dealing with economic questions related to the 2012 presidential election during prime time.
When asked which of the GOP candidates most effectively communicated international business issues to voters, Velshi had some surprising words about Jon Huntsmen. Velshi called his economic plan "the most solid," and gave it a fair amount of praise.
“Just evaluating [candidates] on their understanding of economics and globalization…Jon Huntsman has the greatest rap,” Velshi said, highlighting the candidate’s connection to China. Huntsman’s plan “has been evaluated...and endorsed by a lot of people.”
Unfortunately for Huntsman, Velshi added that the candidate’s plan consists of “fairly sophisticated economic ideas, and that doesn’t make for good campaign signs or television ads.”
While he follows the economic proposals set forth by the candidates, Velshi said his job was to point out when those plans contain false promises. Velshi said that both Democrat and Republican candidates are guilty of making claims about economic reform that are not grounded in reality.
“I get frustrated by some of the things that candidates say when they’re running, but I think we’re all smart enough to know…that candidates say things while they’re running [for office] that won’t actually come to fruition. I wish they didn’t, but that’s part of my job at CNN – to continually point out, ‘This is not feasible. It’s not partisan, it’s just not feasible.’”