John King (E. M. Pio Roda /CNN)

The move is being made to bolster CNN’s coverage heading into the crucial stretch of the 2012 presidential election race, Jautz said. That may be code for: CNN’s ratings last month plunged to a 20-year-plus low.

“Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room” will be expanded from 4 to 7 p.m., and King, who joined CNN in ’97, will become lead national campaign correspondent.