This was first reported, I believe, at the Drudge Report. As one might expect, this appears to have been a technical malfunction. (If you look closely under the X, you can see some black text.) A follow-up has been posted by Drudge, with this quote by CNN:
It involved a switcher, something we call a switcher. It's a machine that we use to switch between visual elements.There would be little more to say, except for additional developments being covered at Daily Pundit. There's a whole timeline of events to read there if you are so interested. The quick summary is that a viewer called into CNN asking for an explanation of the X. The response she received was staggering. The CNN representative claimed that X'ing out the Vice President was defensible and an example of free speech. This representative has since been fired by CNN.
Now, that glitch resulted in that 'X' that you saw being flashed briefly across the screen as the vice president was speaking.
A Turner switchboard operator was fired today after we were alerted to a conversation the operator had with a caller in which the operator lost his temper and expressed his personal views -- behavior that was totally inappropriate. His comments did not reflect the views of CNN. We are reaching out to the caller and expressing our deep regret to her and apologizing that she did not get the courtesy entitled to her.I'm of the mind to believe that everything is as it seems; the appearance of the X was the result of a technical glitch and the switchboard operator that claimed otherwise did not speak the truth or speak for the network.
The entire incident does not improve my already weak impression of CNN's professionalism.