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

Fueling speculation, Dobbs appears to soften on key issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Nick

    Don't you believe it, he is just saying what he needs to get elected. Look out NJ could be a very, very far right leaning state by the end of 2012.

    November 25, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Mattison Brooks

    I'm sorry, but how does enforcing this country's immigration laws make him an enemy of the Latino community? If the Latino community doesn't want its brethren to cross the border legally, then maybe the Latino community is an enemy of America.

    I'm a Canadian and I plan on entering this country to make it my home, the right way, not whichever way is easier. Lou Dobbs has done nothing wrong and I think while its excellent he is a big enough man to soften his stance and find compromise, he doesn't need to abandon that idea altogether. Illegal immigration is wrong, and the only people who oppose it are those who have no respect for this nations laws.

    November 25, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Joe in Canada

    I have watched you few times on CNN and was not happy the way you address issues, you seem biased to me; and now that you intend running for president, it's clear you're changing your opinion for the sake of winning election; and one thing I have found out is that about 95% of so called Americans are immigrants, it might first, second, third generation etc. I wish you good luck in your future pursuit, but I think it's good if we treat all with respect and dignity even if need not their votes or support.

    November 25, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. They call me "tater salad"

    Lou Dobbs is no different than any other public figure that get's called out for lying and running their yappers!.........When in doubt.........Blame it on the "liberal media"!!!!...

    November 25, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Amnesty would be great if the goal is to bankrupt this country. Lets see thats 2.8 million illegal immigrants that will be made citizens without paying a dime in taxes after leeching off the system. That will then be followed by another wave of 2.8 million illegal immigrants hoping for their shot at getting amnesty as well. California will most likely be the first state to go under as we are already getting sucked dry by the hand outs to non citizens.

    November 25, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I used to really like Lou Dobbs, but there's something about him the last couple of years that just left me feeling uneasy. I just have this feeling that he would sell his soul to the devil to achieve whatever it is he wants. I'm usually a pretty good judge of character & my intuition is usually pretty good (at least my husband says that is the case), and I just have an uneasy feeling the Dobbs isn't being straight with us and isn't as trustworthy as he would like us all to think.
    And it's pretty obvious he's gearing up to run for some office somewhere.

    November 25, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. James B

    OMG, he does sound like a politician now. Saying one thing and then retracting it to get his idea through. LOU thats called flip flopping, the same thing all you journalist said was wrong with every person running for elected office. Join the club Lou, flip flop all you want.

    November 25, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. No money for you...

    Well, I guess now the RNC will not help fund your, you comprimisor...How dare you come to your senses?

    November 25, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. John in UT

    Well, that seals the deal. Lou's running for president in 2012.

    So, let's recap ... so far there's Lou Dobbs (major shift in immigration stance to please potential voters looking for a centrist), Glenn Beck (catch that "team of advisors" remark he made in Florida last weekend, eh?), Sarah Palin (just because), and all the usual suspects.

    November 25, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Dis Gusted

    Now Lou will reinvent himself into a more appealing version for the masses. I liked Lou better when he was honest about his feelings.

    November 25, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. SAILFISH55

    I was excited to hear the possibility of Lou running for president ,,,until I heard his i'am backing down on illegal immigrant stance. Typical politician, sell his soul for a vote.....

    November 25, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Hope

    I can't hold my laughter, are you kidding me?

    November 25, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Not even announced yet and already hispandering. 🙂

    November 25, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Chuck in Warren Ohio

    Lou Dobbs has been listening to the wrong people. He has now burned his bridges back to a lush job and will pay a heavy price.
    Too bad, Lou could have made a difference!

    November 25, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. no name calling

    Mr Dobbs,

    I would like to see your birth certificate.

    November 25, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Taiwo

    Lou was one of my favs in the 90s and early a Republican, I don't want this guy to join the GOP which already has enough share of nutballs like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Gives people another reason why folks would not want to vote Republican at the next round of elections.

    November 25, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Busy Mom

    "Propoganda on the left" didn't make Dobbs say that Latinos were bringing leprosy into the country. All Telemundo has to do is play clips of Dobb's CNN show over the last year or so to demonstrate that he is an enemy to the Latino people. All of the concilatory words he is saying now are just a ploy to try to get votes if he runs for office. If he ever (God forbid) gets into office watch him go back to his old rhetoric which is what he really believes.

    November 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. John Anthony Castro

    If Lou Dobbs runs on the Republican ticket, he will further isolate Republicans from the minority communities of America and ensure the re-election of President Barack Obama.

    If Dobbs runs as an Independent, he will pull votes away from those inclined to vote Republican and ensure the re-election of President Barack Obama.

    In either scenario, Dobbs guarantees Obama's re-election. But I would love to see a Dobbs-Palin Republican ticket, LOL. I never thought I would feel sorry for the Republican Party. No mercy for the weak! Just kidding.

    November 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Matt

    Watch as the battle-hardened straight-talker morphs into a politician. It's not going to work, Lou. It may seem like a game of "He who screams the loudest wins", but it's not. You really do need qualifications.

    November 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Pam

    So I suppose that the actual racist and stupid comments that Dobbs has made and that I've heard are just figments of my imagination?! I'm surprised he's backpeddling. The more racist and stupid, the more Fox News would want to hire him to join their crowd of idiots and clowns!

    November 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. duke

    Good riddance. IT was a smart decision for CNN exectutives to force him to leave before his contract expired.

    How dare he say that he is friends with all latinos when all he had on his show was a bully pulpit where he had free reign to speak all the non-sense he did about ilegal immigrants.

    He will never win a seat in the senate. Especially when he will be running against a latino.

    He is public enemy No 1 in the eyes of all latinos illegal or not.

    He will never be in The White House as President either because he has despised and enfuriated the one group who could actually influence the election.

    Without the hispanic vote he wil lnever be President. Not with all the anti hispanic views that he has.

    Kudos CNN for getting rid of this guy. One down and one to go.

    Sherif Arpaio from Arizona is next. He too will fall.

    November 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Peter

    He and Palin would make a great team in 2012

    November 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. JDQ

    Gee, do we think Lou Dobbs is cynically polishing his image? Were his views as he expressed prior just so much hot air? Oh no....THAT couldn't be true......hahahaha.

    November 25, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. signsoftimes

    Lou must really be serious about running for office. Notice how all politicians become soft on Illegal Immigration once they are looking for votes. I won't vote for anyone who is swayed from their convictions that easily! People without conviction lack character, I don't want that in a leader!

    November 25, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Fan

    Dobbs is a joke period

    November 25, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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