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. Toby

    I tend to believe that Mr. Dobbs has always been moderate on the subject of immigration but took a more hard line stance on his show to boost his ratings, any talking head with a controversial schtick tends to attract more viewers.

    However, he doesn't stand a chance in a presidential run but he could be governor in a right wing leaning state where most of the voters are ignorant enough to believe a wall along the Mexican border would do anything to prevent illegal immigration.

    November 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Guy

    LOU DOBBS for preident in 2012 !!!
    At-a-boy Lou have at it, I'm with you.
    They are still illegal though and are bleeding our country

    Guy
    Salina, Kansas.

    November 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. windrider

    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."
    ----–
    See, he's sounding like a politician already. That image came from the vicious inflammatory words that came from his own mouth, his twisting of facts and outright lies. Did the "far left" put all those words in his mouth, put a gun to his head and make him say them, over and over, night after night? At least he's got the art of spin down pat; I guess that qualifies him for some office or another.

    November 25, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. JD in OK

    ...fastest sell out in history. Lou, Lou, Lou.....politics sure works fast!

    November 25, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. kim

    Like any other politician, Lou Dobbs has realized that he cannot win an election without support from Latinos. Such a sell out. I have no respect for him, and I hope that Latinos see through his bullsh..t.

    November 25, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Bob Ramos

    Lou Dobbs has spent years dissing the illegal workers and Hispanics in general. Now, he is considering public office and wants their votes.

    November 25, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. GLORIA

    I don't write often but this made me sit up and take notice of another two-faced person that will run for office. They spew venom when they get paid the big bucks but then when they are no longer on the soapbox, they change their minds. What is the deal with this guy? Do not let him run for office we just got rid of one jerk, we don't need another.

    November 25, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Steve in Kentucky

    The problem is, Lou, that there is a treasure trove of video just waiting to become your opponents' campaign ads - video of YOU on CNN spouting your racist and facist comments.

    So go ahead and run. See what happens. Go ahead. It'll be entertaining if nothing else.

    November 25, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    Is it just me or are American politics even more surreal than usual lately? Have a great Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much Punkin' Pie! XOXO ;-)

    November 25, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. a health economist

    Flip-flop! He's running for public office in 2012.

    November 25, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Carmela, Longwood, Florida

    Mr. Dobbs; I always considered you a bully at worst, and a misinformed man at best; never did I see you as the hypocrite you also turned out to be. After years of listening to you –by choice, and sometimes by chance– blame the Latino community for all the foes of this country, I find it truly unbelievable now that you will speak of a desire to be "engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue" and work "towards real solutions". This raises then the question, what exactly was your purpose, during all those years you had an open microphone in front of you? You already had your chance to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution; but you chose instead to belittle the Latino community day and day out, and to offend the largest minority of this country, under the incorrect belief that we were going to keep quiet forever. Now, when you find yourself without a job at CNN - I guess it won't be long before we see you at FOX News–, now you want to make peace with the Latinos? How disingenuous of you.

    November 25, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. NotFooledTX

    A leopard doesn't change it's spots. Dobbs is unelectable – and wouldn't garner any consideration from me.

    November 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Travis

    More typical Dobbs rhetoric. "There's a problem. Let me whine about it over and over again until people think I'm saying something important."

    November 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. ginny from Canada

    Sounds like Lou's already turned into a politician.........

    November 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. donttreadonme

    Dobbs is right the boarder needs to be secured! This should be the first priority. The dems won’t do it because they need the immigrant vote to secure their future.

    November 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Chip Pierce

    If Dobbs joins the GOP, for the first time in my life, I would consider voting for a Republican.

    November 25, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. kincas

    Oh boy, what can I say?...

    November 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    I can recall your visit to Hazleton, Pa in support of the program to get rid of illegal's living in our town – since your visit the program was found to illegal itself and will soon be costing the tax payers of the town in excess of 2 million dollars to pay for the legal services of those who were opposed to what the city was trying to do – I wonder would you like to help us pay this 2 million – if so send your check to taxpayers of Hazleton, PA.

    November 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Florence

    If he's "one of their greatest friends", I hate to see his enemies.

    November 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Steve, New York City

    Dobbs is a typical hard-core conservative: if you don't look, act, talk, walk and dress EXACTLY LIKE THEM, then they think there's something wrong with you.

    Ronald Reagan was NOT a typical conservative – he had his view, but he would not demonize the other side (which is why everyone loved him). I would also say that Mike Huckabee strikes me as an open-minded conservative.

    Only time will tell whether Dobbs' latest comments are more than just lip service.

    November 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Emma

    Who believes this? If you do, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    November 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Good Grief! Dobbs has been on a one-man crusade against illegal immigrants and them there ferrinners takin' our jobs! Please understand that he never encouraged enforcing laws on employers who hire them!

    Suddenly, he realizes that he needs Latino votes to win an election and he's all "love you guys – really, it's all just a misunderstanding." Ha!

    You off to a great start, Lou. Get that hypocritical stuff out there quickly. Why wait til the last minute?

    What a dirt bag! (apologies to dirt bags everywhere.)

    November 25, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Len in Washington

    What a back-peddling loser.

    "No thanks, Lou."

    November 25, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Dan

    Well, he's obviously a hypocrite, but hey, this is a good thing.

    If he seriously wants to make a run for the White House, then this is a smart move on his part. This is the sentiment of most people in America, and if Lou Dobbs can change his mind, then maybe a lot more people can change theirs.

    I think it's great.

    November 25, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. Frank Pierce

    Hmmmm

    I find it interesting to see just how much power the latino community has in and over this country.

    They seem to have taken the issue of illegal immigration (it is supposed to be illegal) and turned it into something to use as a political weapon against any american who dares oppose it.

    Then all they have to do is sit and wait for time to pass by long enough for the next (I need votes wussy) to realize that he/she wants to run for office.

    "Oh really?" You think that it's fine for latinos to come in illegally and I need votes. "Gee, I think I'll cave to your numbers and your political power."

    I guess Dobbs is another smooth talkin, millionaire who might like to convince us that he's going to do something useful. He'll be about as useless as the rest our lobbyist owned government officials.

    November 25, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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