Van Jones on His Transition From Obama Insider to Outsider


(The Root) -- Van Jones is the co-host of CNN’s recently revived political-debate program, Crossfire. Back on the air after it was canceled in 2005, the show will put him at the center of what the network says will be “America’s great debates.”

But he’s no newcomer to strong political views. Jones, who got his start as a progressive activist, became President Obama’s green-jobs advisor in 2009. After resigning when he was wrongly accused of signing a 9/11 truther petition, he founded Rebuild the Dream, a political organization designed to counter the Tea Party movement. His book of the same name gives his take on the administration’s first term.

In other words, he’s seen the Obama presidency from more angles than just about anyone.

“On my Twitter feed, half the time I'm being called a traitor to Obama, and half the time I'm being called a puppet for Obama,” Jones has said.

So, on the five-year anniversary of President Obama’s election, we asked the insider-turned-outsider-turned-conversation-shaper about his assessment of the state of the presidency, his plans to make sure Crossfire is a dialogue instead of a taking-points-fest and the work he’s doing that has nothing to do with politics.

The Root: President Obama was elected five years ago. What do we know now that we didn't know then? 



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