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. scott from michigan

    He would make a good politician, seriously, look at how fast he flip-flopped on the immigration issue when he realized he needed the latino vote to make a run in politcs, true to form for a conservative!!

    November 25, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. MackG

    Sorry Lou, your track record of racist comments toward Latinos speaks for itself. The evidence is in the video archive of your shows.

    November 25, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Ray

    Didn't take long for him to sell out his beliefs in order to possibly get elected.

    November 25, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. KenInPortland

    "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"


    November 25, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    Lou Dobbs stopped being relevant 100 years ago.

    November 25, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. phyllis

    It sounds to me like Mr. Dobbs is crawfishing, or doing the back stroke

    Just like a person who wants to run for public office. Thank you.

    November 25, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Hey Zeus

    For decades our nation has been subjected to the government's lackadaisical support for the security of our borders, ports; mass transit systems; visa applications; foreign student loans; social and health services applications, ETC.

    Our government's national security effort has exercised less diligence and effort in border sovereignity for a sustained period time than the average local town cop ticketing Friday night drunk drivers.

    Our federal government has challenged US citizens' patriotism and income through the filter of what became the "politically correct" thing to do. These are the results.

    November 25, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. dick delson

    Can you spell STUPID. This guy is a creep.

    November 25, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Henry

    Part of me would love to see Lou Dobbs as President. It's so much easier to criticize those in power than to actually have the responsibility of actually being in power. I bet a President Dobbs would be singing a very different tune than pundit, cherry-picking-the-facts Dobbs.

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Say what?

    I have always felt that Lou Dobbs was a loud mouth idiot who cared less for the issue itself than for the easy targets and audience it brings. He made a lot of money pounding this issue into the ground and few legitimate, well thought out points.

    I would call him a hypocrite but since I doubt he ever cared for the issue I think that is a bit disingenuous.

    I am certain that this will not cost Lou Dobbs my vote in 2012 since I really never saw a scenario where I would vote for him.

    I wish him luck in whatever shallow, push button issue he decides to exploit for profit next.

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Bob

    Egotistical nut case turns out to be a sellout, too.

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Rick

    Funny thing about political pundits. They can pound their fists on the table and rail against everything because they don't have to actually do any real work. Like most people in politics he is an opportunist and will say and do most anything to get elected. Right now he is brushing up on his Spanish, and next week he will talk about how his family immigrated and "struggled to achieve the American dream." That he wants to help immigrates" find a way forward" He wants to "cut waste in government" and "improve life for all Americans". Anyone who believes a pundit is serving anything other than their own self interest is a fool.

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Will Masimore

    It is a sad day for CNN to lose such a great News Anchor. There is a huge distrust for both the Republican and Democratic parties in this Country today. Lou Dobbs' Independent views were such a breath of fresh air. Rather than being politically correct at times, he said it like it needed to be said and addressed the issues that needed to be addressed. He is a man who puts America First. I am sorry to say that unless CNN replaces him with another independent voice, I will not be watching CNN near as much as i have been. Lou Dobbs owes it to this Country to run for the The President of the United States in 2012. We need an independent party in this country. This Country must be ran by someone in the middle and what better man than Lou Dobbs for the job! Lou Dobbs in 2012!

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Norman

    There is no more positive sign that Mr Dobbs has his sights on public office then him moderating his extreme position on immigration. If he was going to Fox he'd be going the other way and racheting up the anti-immagrant retoric for the sake of ratings.

    Run Lou Run! LOL!!! I guess he stands a better chance than Palin, but that's a sure sign of how little the GOP will have to offer in 2012.

    November 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Sam

    Hearing what Lou had to say here and there in CNN, it quickly became apparent to me that he always failed to distinguise the illigal immigrants with the legal immigrants. He just called everyone just immigrants. As an immigrant myself, legal of course, that was offensive enough for me to stop paying attention to what he had to say.

    November 25, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Paul Blair

    "...constructing an environment in which everyone is clear and unequivocal about the need for boarder security..."

    Gee, I had no idea ship safety was so high on Dobbs' agenda.

    November 25, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. rick

    May God have mercy on each one of us !

    November 25, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Shawn Foster

    He would NEVER get my vote!! He's racist and a avid divider of the people!!! Lou please retire completely and go fishing or something! PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM ALL THINGS POLITICAL!!!!!

    November 25, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. M Alvarez

    I wonder if he does not have access to past programs. His anti-foreign, anti-Latin comments were very pointed and rather insulting. How soon we forget! Memory of convenience, no doubt.

    November 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Beverly - NYC

    Already sucking up and sounding like a politician ! I hope the hispanic community does fall for this new line of bull, Lou is a wolf in sheep's clothing who falls back on his wife's ancestry when it's convenient. Once a bigot always a bigot Lou.

    November 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. MishaJohn

    Lou is nuts if he thinks he can walk back years of demagoguery on immigration. But it will entertaining as heck watching him try.

    November 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Rob in NC

    Well I give him credit for going on something other than Fox News like the other conservatives (so called independants) that are pandering to the far right.

    November 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. kelly

    Dobbs is like the character 2 Face in the movie Batman. Once a beckon for the right wing conservative neo racist view, where latinos are demonize for an issue where the chinese are the biggest offender (illegal immigration), do your research. Now that he wants something, he's mr.nice guy and everyone's friend, a crusader for the people against government. what a joke. be smart people, it is time to usurp the Federal Reserve by dumping your dollars and buying as much gold and silver as you can to protect yourself againt the destruction of the dollar. That what dobbs really need to be focusing on.

    November 25, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. hongli

    The only House that Lou Dobbs can run for is the "OUT-HOUSE". He's that good!!!!!!

    November 25, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Bruce Hogman

    Leopard spots come to mind in thinking that Dobbs can change his history for possible political gain.

    November 25, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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