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. Bill

    Now that he wants a serious job, rather than just entertainment, he has to be practical. Shocker.

    Now imagine if Glen Beck had to run something other than his mouth.

    November 25, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. DALE

    Sorry Lou, not buying it. For YEARS you have decried that every problem under the flag was the cause of illeagal immigration, of which in your opinion I would technically be a decendant of. Now you expect me to believe something different? You were either acting then or your acting now, whichever it is I don't think I'll take that gamble.

    November 25, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Paul in Louisville

    Of course he's softening his stance. Hypocrisy is the conservative way.

    November 25, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Terry

    We take Lou's word for what it's worth now. We wait to see what positions he takes and what "understandings" and "solutions" he brings when debate starts on immigration. And we wish him good luck.

    November 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Bill Surrey

    It's amazing how people will flip flop when they start smelling big money. Typical hypocrite.

    November 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. gate

    He is just pandering for votes. His entire broadcast career is centered upon a fear and dislike of immigrants, especially Mexicans.

    November 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Enrique

    Jiffy (Definition) – A short space of time

    Dobbs may have redefined the term.

    New world record in hypocrisy, becoming a politician, you name it...

    Pretty sad, if you ask me...

    November 25, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. karuna

    Sure, he would utter any "rubbish" if he thinks he can get any vote if he enters politics. One of the biggest hypocrites and liar, just another politician of the wrong breed.

    November 25, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. ThisAmp

    Well, he's clearly becoming the consumate politician. Lies, obfuscations, flip-flops, pity-parties - the world would be a better place if he would just shut up and go enjoy his filthy wealth.

    November 25, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Good luck Lou !
    You need some photo ops kissing latino babies !

    November 25, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Lynne

    Not even officially a candidate and already "flip flopping"!!!

    November 25, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. JP

    Ok CNN, I understand that Dobbs was your guy for a long time, and I don't mean to disrespect him, but after listening to this guy go on and on about illegal immigrants day after day for years has left me incredibly skeptical to what he's saying now. Does this mean he was only saying these things to generate ratings? Does it mean he's trying to kiss up to mexicans (illegal and legal) in a bid for president? Why does it seem like politics is being played?

    November 25, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Sam of CA

    And people were complaining about Obama's lack of experience? Or even Sarah's for that matter?

    November 25, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. CATHY

    For years, I have always said that Lou Dobbs would be a fantastic President and I would campaign hard for him.
    Please Mr. Dobbs, if you do run ( and I pray you do) Please, please hold to your principals~ we need that. Don't tell the Hispanic / Latino people what you think they want to hear, just to get their vote.Please don't turn into what we already have in Washington~show us some REAL change~not more politics.
    We need a REAL leader of the people ~for the people.
    Your supporter in 2012~Lou Dobbs for President!
    Cathy Butcher

    November 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Noise

    Moron. Another fringe guy gunning for high office.

    November 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Don

    I don'\t think anyone need worry about Mr. Dobbs' ridiculous pandering to the Latino community fooling the Latinos or anyone else. What should have everyone aghast is that this man fantasizes himself as Presidential material. How about Mayor of a very small Alaskan town?.

    November 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. some guy in New Hampshire

    I hope Dobbs was not among those who said that Obama was unready to be president because he lacked enough relevant expwerience. We live in a sick political culture in which people with strong opinions are assumed to be competent to govern. Outgassing opinions is a very different skill, and requires a very different set of smarts, from negotiating with Iran, revising the tax code, or managing a protracted war to a proper conclusion. Opinions are fine but they're not a resume. Dobbs is prepared to have a talk show; he's not adequately prepared to govern the US.

    November 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. david

    Looks as if his years of hate-mongering has finally caught up to him.

    November 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. AndyB

    "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."

    ummm I'd say that you burned that bridge Lou. Now your hypocrisy is showing.

    November 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. RoseH

    Typical politician – saying what he thinks people want to hear and changing the story mid stream. He'll do well in DC, as he too is full of it!

    November 25, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. joe mett

    Dobbs should focus on being President of the Southern States of the United States and stop waisting our time.!!!!

    November 25, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Poor Lou,we used to listen to him everyday but his venom started to show through during the election.His ideas and most policies arent that bad.He might change his stance if ever elected and found out he could never control the people that really run the World,the World Bank and a tiny country in the middle east,and a race of people that believe they are the chosen.

    November 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Steven in Charleston

    While I agree with Mr. Dobbs that any solution to the challenges presented by immigration need to be respectful of the people who are already here and need to involve compromise on all sides, anyone who believes that this position is somehow consistent with his position on CNN is a fool. For years Mr. Dobbs demonized undocumented imigrants in virtually every way possible.

    As for Mr. Dilenschneider, he should be immediately fired for even suggesting that the U.S. Senate is an "intermediary step."

    November 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. MSH, Miami, FL

    Who does this idiot think he's kidding?

    November 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Sue

    I will VOTE for LOU DOBBS. He is honest, forthright and truly knows the problems of this ill-run country.
    Lou for PRESIDENT>

    November 25, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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