November 25th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
4 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. Molly B

    My opinion: Dobbs is a mealy-mouthed (oh gosh , I got this far and
    ran out of acceptable words). Oh well, I'm happy he is leaving CNN.

    November 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. common border

    Here we are with another manipulator. Since he is looking for the impending 2012, he thinks he can amend things with people he has hurt so much. Not at this time Lou. Get back to CNN. That is were you belong.

    November 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. suresh

    It is very common to these talk show folks to incite people to some rhetoric and capture a following. However, when they think of running for an office, they realize that they have to be in the middle. I think Dobbs have come to that realization and that is why this stepping around the issue. In addition, it was an interview with spanish language network. You cannot expect him to trash immigrants in that interview. Wait and see him on FOX and you will see the old Dobbs again.

    November 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Cathy ODell

    Just goes to show you how fake people can be. Dobbs spent a considerable amount of time venting about illegal immigration. I agreed with what he said about it, and now he changes his tune. As far as Dobbs running for the White House in 2012 - we had too many old men for President in the past, and we don't need another one in the future. So Dobbs, go home and sit by the fire.

    November 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. phyllicia

    Flip flop, Lou

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Texaslady2

    Well, wouldn't you know it? As soon as Dobbs starts getting political aspirations, he becomes willing to sell out the American workers and give amnesty to lawbreaking illegal aliens. This country is truly doomed: the idea of being a nation of law-abiding citizens is apparently so 20th century! Now even Dobbs is willing to sell us out! Did he get his 30 pieces of silver yet?

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. John

    Looks like Lou may be retracting one of his gonads, replacing it with political ambition. Amature move in a field of which he is an apprentice.

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Vince CA

    Wow less than one month as a true politician and he is already lying through his teeth. Apparently he does not realize that all of his prior comments are clearly documented on the internet.

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Ken

    After years of inflammatory lies and distortions, now Dobbs is trying to make nice with the Latino community.

    What a hypocrite. A perfect politician.

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Jim

    His blatant open displays of anger on so many issues make him unfit for any elected office. His racist attitudes are frightening. Fear, fear and more fear. A right wing Republican pretending to be independant.

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. I am the flacid and powerless wizard of Rush

    Please run for office, Lou. Please get destroyed. Please retire into oblivion.

    Thank you.

    November 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Samantha

    And your surpised, why? He's like the rest of them hate immigrants until they're running for office then they love them. Lou Dobbs is a coward like the rest of the GOP.

    November 25, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Larry

    What a joke this guy is.

    November 25, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. fedfl

    Well, that settles the question of whether Dobbs is converting to politician mode. The lies begin to flow.

    November 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Proud American

    LOLOLOLOL Typical Republican, he wants to run for office and needs the Latino vote. After years of bashing them, now he's one of their greatest friends. lolololololololol

    November 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Jaycee

    OMG, Lou, you've already become a politician – talking out of both sides of your mouth!

    November 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Florida Joe

    Yup spoken like a true politician.......When in doubt LIE............
    Sure he doesn't want to be a Repub? Sounds like one

    November 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Robin in Tampa, Fl

    Dobbs for President HA! NEVER! I would actually feel safer voting for Palin (and I absolutely detest her) ...

    November 25, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. tubby

    Interesting,I guess politicians will do or say anything to win even selling their birthright,Lou dobbs included.

    November 25, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Mike

    Wolf in sheep's clothing...

    November 25, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Bob

    Watch out; a fox is always a fox

    November 25, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Bob Knick

    Good flip flop Lou. You will make a great politician.

    November 25, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. j duffy

    As one of Dobbs biggest critics...Bravo Lou! Great to see you come to a moderate position on this issue.

    November 25, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Dave

    LOL – he always supported "amnesty" if the border gets secured first and we can end illegal immigration, and he has also long maintained that in the "illegal immigration problem" the illegal immigrants themselves are the least to blame!

    Jeez, did you ever listen to Lou Dobbs when he was on CNN?

    I know most of his critics didn't actually listen to him, it's amazing his own network didn't listen either!

    November 25, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Fred the Moderate

    Isn't it funny how the tone changes when you have to appeal to a broader group when running for president? We know what the underlaying feelings are but we are suppose to believe what's told to us instead.

    Lou, we aren't that stupid

    November 25, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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