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. Jeff

    Lou Dobbs running for president? lol , lol, lol Maybe we can get Al
    Roker for his VP.....

    November 25, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. marc

    Boy he really is softening his stance.
    Now he wants to put people up for the night... "boarder" security?
    Nice proofreading CNN.

    November 25, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Robert

    Gee Lou,
    That must be a record for selling out on your intergity!
    So what you're saying is either you were a blow hard that said what ever it took to get the ratings or you have no integrity.

    November 25, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. The day

    The day a talking head

    runs for President, and gets more than 3 votes (1 his, 1 his mother, 1 some idiot)

    America has become its own Reality TV show.

    November 25, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. vdtcat

    Sounds like posturing to me. Just because "now" he is thinking of running for office he is softer on immigration...yep just like a politican ...lie lie lie.

    November 25, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Steve

    Either he's just realized that all those years of staunch extremism with regard to immigration never helped solve anything, and a policy of dialog and compromise is better, or . . . he's just selling himself out to win votes.

    So how soon will Lou, a "strong independent", cozy up and formally join the GOP? When he does that we'll know "sell out" is the answer for sure.

    November 25, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Dobb fan

    so now, he is courting the latino votes contradicting his early stance. No 2012 to this double standard probable candidate.

    November 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. rdd

    typical poloitican he wants votes. people like me in the construction industry have been taking a pounding from the illeales taking our jobs.i'm currentlty unemployed replaced by an illeagle just what we need another politician scking up to these law breakers

    November 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Jack in Florida

    Flip Flopping already??????? He is ready to take the plunge into politics!!!!

    November 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Huzman

    Dobbs is another one of those idiots who think that their ungaurded ulterancies about immigration will make a change of policy when their ancestors benefitted from the same immigration that their children today criticize.

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

    Classic transformation from Journalism to Politician.

    "I was against it before I decided I better be for it to get some of that Latino vote."

    Fake.

    November 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Blue

    He is done.

    November 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Dave

    Great, he's already sounding like a politician. So much for Dobbs and a viable third party. Get out of the two-party scam, America!!

    November 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Fred Thorne

    You have my support, Lou!

    November 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Mr. Lopez

    Oh Please . . .

    With "friends" like him, who needs enemies !

    November 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Mychal Sneed

    I have great respect for Lou Dobbs and his opinion on illegal immigration. However, it does sound like he's getting on the political pandering bandwagon now that he's considering a future in politics. There are still many of us out here that know amnesty hasn't worked in the past and won't work this time either. The illegals should not have any more rights in our country than we would have in theirs. They should not get free medical, their babies born here should not be automatic citizens, we should not be educating their children (especially in Spanish). Every other group of people that have immigrated into this country have learned to read, write and speak English. Why not the Hispanics? Our tax dollars are needed for our own legal citizens and legal immigrants.

    November 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. pjc

    Lou Dobbs a friend to illegal immigrents?

    Sure, and Glen Beck want to work for Obama's re-election campaign.

    November 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. tom

    Sounds like he has turned into one of the "establishment". What happens with these guys when they turn politicians? They seem to loose their positions and start sounding like the rest of the idiots out there. If they change Lou, then we are really screwed. Time to dump the Federal Government and start it over. The US Constitution has procedures for that. Lets get 'em going! This isn't the country our founding fathers started or envisioned!

    November 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. LAW

    If he gets all squishy on immigration, forget it. Let's hear what he has to say though. He was insultingly brutal on Bush. Policy criticism was often due, but there was a caustic meanness that left me uneasy. Perhaps it was because he was simply so disgusted with what he saw in some areas. He then seemed nearly as tough with Obama, so he has likely made enemies on both sides. Maybe he has the courage to stand for what he believes is right. We shall see. I need to see what policy solutions would be to his liking. That doesn't mean media interpretation–it means straight from him. I don't need the spin from either side.

    November 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. michele cvet

    I stopped watchingCNN because he was on it. I can't tolerate him, and he's not truthful in anything he says. It's a good thing he's gone from his anchor chair. He was against every single thing about Barack Obama before he even knew who he was. Lou Dobbs had no business on CNN in the past two years. He is a biased prejudiced man. Good riddance!

    November 25, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. megrcam51

    God, what a panderer!

    November 25, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Kim in AZ

    I'm sorry, What!?! He spends years railing against Mexican immigrants and now claims to be their "greatest friend". Was he their friend when he was claiming Mexican immigrants were spreading leprousy in the US?

    November 25, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. David in Dallas

    Was Dobbs lying about his views on immigration in order to pander to his audience?

    Or is he lying about his views now in order to pander to prospective voters?

    Conservative Morals = Oxymoron

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

    I have an opinion, and I'm willing to change it depending on the audience I'm speaking to. When is it my turn to run the country?

    November 25, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Peters (Toronto) Canada

    I 'used' to watch Lou Dobbs, but over time I begun to realise I was listening to the incoherent ramblings of someone I would not count among my friends.

    I am over the moon now that Lou Dobbs is no longer able to raise my blood-pressure! Thank you for leaving CNN Mr. Dobbs, thank you.

    November 25, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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