November 25th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Fueling speculation, Dobbs appears to soften on key issue

Dobbs latest comments on illegal immigration are raising eyebrows.
Dobbs latest comments on illegal immigration are raising eyebrows.

(CNN) - The same week Lou Dobbs suggested he would consider running for the White House in 2012, the former CNN anchorman appears to be softening his stance on his signature issue of illegal immigration.

In an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo gaining attention Wednesday, Dobbs told interviewer Maria Celeste he is one of the Latino community's "greatest friends" and appeared willing to embrace a form of amnesty he spent years criticizing.

"What isn't working is a penalty to those who are in this country illegally for whom we can both be building a bridge to the future in which there is legalization and at the same time constructing an environment in which everyone is clear and unequivocal about the need for boarder security and a regulated flow of immigration," Dobbs said.

Watch: Dobbs announces resignation from CNN

"I want to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue, and work with those who will work toward real solutions," the former CNN anchorman also said, maintaining his position on immigration hasn't changed despite what appears to be a more moderate stance. "I think we need to honestly come together, those who have differing views…and make some real progress toward an understanding a compromise for those who are in this country illegally."

Dobbs also brushed aside suggestions he is the "No. 1 enemy" of the Latino community, saying that image is a result of propaganda "efforts of the far left."

"Whatever you have thought of me in the past," Dobbs said, "I can tell you right now that I am one of your greatest friends and I mean for us to work together. I hope that will begin with Maria and me and Telemundo and other media organizations and others in this national debate that we should turn into a solution rather than a continuing debate and factional contest."

The comments come as Dobbs has fueled speculation the former anchorman may have his eye on politics as a second act, either in 2012 as a presidential candidate or as a challenger to New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, the only Hispanic in the Senate.

In an interview with Washington radio station WTOP Monday Dobbs said a 2012 run is "one of the discussions that we're having," though he did not indicate if he'd run as a Republican or third-party candidate.

Meanwhile, Robert Dilenschneider, a spokesman for Dobbs, told the New York Times Tuesday the former anchorman may take the "intermediary step" of challenging Menendez.

"I think Lou is realistically saying, that's a long way off, but if he did run for office there'd have to be an intermediary step, such as the Menendez seat," he said .

Dobbs amicably parted ways with CNN earlier this month. The former anchor's strong views on illegal immigration have made him a lightning rod for criticism from Hispanic groups, and a popular figure in some conservative quarters.


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soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. John independent from NY

    starting to sound like a politician. wishy washy and weak.

    November 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Mitt

    If Americans vote for this clueless and egotistic individual, he will do to America what the last Administration nearly did; You know what I mean my friends.

    November 25, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Lori, Houston Texas

    I watched Lou Dobbs since his Money show. I saw how he turned against the brown skinned immigrants and it was just plain disgusting. Lou got the low hanging fruit ratings with his "hate everyone who is not white" meme. CNN loved that part. Now that his "birther" claims made CNN a laughing stock of the "real" news organizations (not that there are many left), he's persona non grata. So, exactly how will he change the perception of his racist image?
    I can't think of anything he could do to change my mind about him. Perception is reality. If he's too dumb to not have recognized that while he was flapping his jaws about non-whites, he'll never make it as a politician. Of course, I'm sure he'll find a home at Fox sooner or later....

    November 25, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Teejaym

    Dobbs has proven that he's another spineless tool who'll say what it takes just to be popular.

    November 25, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. John

    Why should it raise brows? If he is going to be elected he has to be an awesome liar like Hussein. But I wouldn't expect OBAMANEWS aka CNN to admit that.

    November 25, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. John in St Paul, MN

    My Latino Friends, Don’t believe one word out of this man’s mouth.

    November 25, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Rib15

    Wow, what a coincidence! He decides to run for office and suddenly reverses a key position, and possibly one of the ones that got him fired to begin with.

    Advocacy journalism, indeed. Lou, it's no wonder no one takes you seriously anywhere but out on the fringe....

    November 25, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Greg

    Lou Dobbs is a hateful man, that spews forth lies. His softing on illegal immigration is merely a rouse. This man is the primary reason I stopped watching CNN on TV and started watching MSNBC on the internet.

    November 25, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. SD

    Another entertainer, no real intellect. Of course he changed his tune, since nobody else will probably hire him for fear of outlash from all miorities (not only hispanics). He better take care of that 8 million he got for getting off the air, it may be the last bit of change he sees.

    November 25, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. JJK

    I stopped watching Lou Dobbs when he started becoming shrill. Now I have even less reason to take him seriously. At least he did me the favor of presenting a reason to decide early.

    November 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. D Barber

    Hey Lou, you should run for President as the Flip Flopper candidate. Can't wait to see how many times you are going to change sides, opinions, beliefs.

    November 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Paul

    Dobbs is an idiot. Just days before the country's financial meltdown, he was touting how strong the economy was and that anybody saying anything to the contrary were wrong. Now he's friends with Latinos? Don't trust this guy – he never get's it right, latches on to issues and positions that are wrong, and he can't seem to find real facts. He either creates disinformation puposely, or he believes it without fact-checking anything. Loser.

    November 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Dal CA

    It would be nice to see Dobbs run against Sarah Palin in the primaries.

    November 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Patrick - Indianapolis

    I'd like to be the first to say that I wish Lou Dobbs a wonderful trip to hell. I'm sure Ol' Satan has a nice hot coal with his name on it. Satan always takes care of his favorite bigots. You betcha! Wink Wink and other nonsensical right wingery.

    November 25, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Debbie Duke

    I am deeply disappointed in his 180 degree change on illegal immigration. This is not the Lou Dobbs I watched for years. It makes me wonder what other positions he's changed.

    November 25, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Tom

    First there was Palin and now there is Dobbs! What is wrong with this Republican party...can't they find someone with a brain to lead their effort? What a smuck this Dobbs is...now that he is planning to play somekind of national role he all of a sudden moves to the middle. Does this maybe say that all these big mouthed conservative radio and TV kooks have opinions that only divide and get far right lackeys all caught up in their panties? Once the money stream stops and they hit the real world they are just like everyone else! What a bunch of hypocrites...

    November 25, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Dilip Samuels

    Oh! the motley Republican crew ..Lou Dobbs, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh..Imagine them running the US

    I feel for the American people

    The times they are a changin ..so are the people in the US

    November 25, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. JG

    This guy talked ALL big on his show for years. Now it will be up to him to actually come up with solutions to these issues he's been crying about and now he is retracting. All that footage of you on a daily basis foaming from the mouth about hispanics in this country – can't retract that Lou. Talk big to a camera, but can't actually get around to spewing the hate to people when you have to look them in the eye. Pathetic

    November 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. David Hallemann

    Already attacking Lou Dobbs, I see. CNN says the seperation was mutaully beneficial, but as soon as he does anything of substance, they run a story attacking his policies. What a surprise.
    Lou Dobbs will make a beeter Senator, or President than any we've had in the last 20 years, and I'd be proud to vote for him.

    November 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. jeff jackson, alabama

    I have always said that hosts like Limbaugh,Hannity,
    Maddow,Oberman,Beck, O'riley are only in the business
    for themselves financially.
    The liberal talk host will go conservative and vice
    versa to remain in the public limelight and keep
    the big bucks coming.
    Why would anybody be surprised that Dobbs will
    change his opinions to adjust to his future success.
    Remember, all these people mentioned above are
    just journalists. It doesn't take much clay to mold
    a journalist.

    November 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. david, CA

    a Dobbs/Palin 2012 ticket wouldn't surprise me.
    And if that doesn't work out, Lou can finally make the short leap to Fixed News where he's been missing all along.

    November 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Curtis Zeitelhack

    What we need is a coherent policy, whatever policy is decided.
    What we also need is CNN writers who know the difference between "boarder and border.

    November 25, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Rick -California

    What a hypocrite! For years Lou Dobbs has been banging the anti-immigrant drum.

    November 25, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. mjm

    Never watched the show....Don't know who he is.

    Why would wanting people to be here legally cause controversy?

    Seems as if you cannot have an opinion other than that of the left and stay on CNN.

    Who are the conservatives on CNN anyway? I don't watch.

    November 25, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Cathy Reid

    Just another ultra conservative

    November 25, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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