WASHINGTON (CNN) – Move over Michael Bloomberg. Another famous figure is the subject of a presidential draft movement: CNN's own Lou Dobbs.
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC - a group, according to its Web site, that supports candidates "who make illegal immigration reduction a top priority" - launched a campaign Wednesday designed to convince the CNN anchor to enter the presidential race if a so-called "pro-amnesty" candidate wins the Republican presidential nomination. According to the group, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani all fall into that category.
William Gheen, the president of ALIPAC, said the group has over 25,000 active supporters spread across all 50 states and an overwhelming majority of them are ready to support a Dobbs presidential bid. Gheen also expressed confidence in Dobbs' wide electoral appeal.
"Lou Dobbs could run and win because he could easily raise the funds and grassroots support he needs to be a historic and viable candidate quickly," he said. The public is eager to rebuke the DC status quo and would quickly rally to Dobbs."
The group has launched an official Web site and is already using it to solicit fundraising pledges for the potential run and showcase Dobbs anti-illegal immigration stance.
Buzz has long surrounded a Lou Dobbs presidential bid in the blogosphere - even more so after Dobbs wrote a column for CNN.com last November in which he hypothesized an "Independent populist" would win the White House. (The Wall Street Journal published a piece soon after that claimed Dobbs was "seriously contemplating" a bid.)
"I can't imagine any one of the current candidates for their party's nomination being chosen by the American people to lead this nation for the next four years," Dobbs wrote in his column. "I believe the person elected a year from now will be an Independent populist, a man or woman who understands the genius of this country lies in the hearts and minds of its people and not in the prerogatives and power of its elites."
"I believe next November's surprise will be the election of a man or woman of great character, vision and accomplishment, a candidate who has not yet entered the race," he wrote.
"You never say never, but the fact of the matter is, my commitment, my interest lies in being - doing what I do, which is that of an advocacy journalist on this great network," he said, adding "I'm very flattered by the thoughts."
Gheen acknowledged Dobbs' entrance into the race was unlikely, but said his group is ready to "camp outside his office" should McCain, Huckabee, or Guilaini win the GOP nomination.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney