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. Theresa

    "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."

    So in other words, Dobbs is a hypocrite. I imagine he assumes voters are too stupid and/or lazy to notice his drastic change on his favorite topic. Unfortunately, judging by the number of people who seem to be such ardent supporters of Sarah Palin, I worry that he may be right.

    November 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Milligee

    Yes, right.

    November 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. chuck

    The Latin communities would be fully in favor of Mr. Dobb's commentary about securing our borders and saving are depleted resources for social services if 22 million North Koreans descended upon the southern Texas valleys, southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. They would change their tune overnight and become the prime defenders of the sovereignty of this great country.

    November 25, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Dawn

    Sure he would change is toxic view. Lou Dobbs is looking votes from the Latino Community. People should definitely raise their eye brows with his new attitude. Certainly this is not a genuine change we are seeing from Lou Dobbs. He is a HYPOCRITE.
    He knows he will need their support if indeed he does run in 2012.
    I know they will see him for what he really is, " a wolf in sheeps' clothing"
    As far as Lou Dobbs is concerned, every Latino in America is there illegally except for his wife and her family.
    He should hold is big head in shame.

    November 25, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. MrPragmatic

    At first I laughed when I heard Lou Dobbs was thinking about entering politics, and at the level of President nonetheless. After all, he has never been elected to any office anywhere ever. However, he was able to execute a 180 on his signature issue in just a matter of days since getting the boot from CNN. Ya know, this guy sounds like a solid Republican so maybe he does have a future in politics. After all, isn't flip-flopping part of the GOP strategy and platform?

    November 25, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Terry G.

    Dobbs dodges the draft & is now back tracking...he's a perfect politician!

    November 25, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Sgt. USMC

    TOO LATE dobbs... we know what you are trying to do and it's not going to work. Quite being a two face.

    November 25, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. YJ

    Snake in suit!!!!!!!!!! He spent hours after hours criticizing anything about immigration that he could! Now he is twisting his tongue and want to claim to be friend of immigrants, and want immigrants to trust him. When President Georges W. Bush had the courage to bring the issue of immigration to Congress for a legislative solution, Lou Dobbs was one of the right wing, racist and obstructionist commentators inciting the right wing crowd against the initiative that ended-up killed. Like the saying says:"foul me once shame on you; foul me twice shame on me". Not this time Lou Dobbs! Not again!! Snake in suit you are, Snake in suit you will be until the end Lou Dobbs!!!

    November 25, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Boomer in Mo

    Typical politician. Dodge and bob.

    November 25, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. citizen

    Now I see why Dobbs may think he can have a future in politics. He can talk out of both sides of his mouth!

    November 25, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. ak

    These politicians make people sick. They think most Americans are stupid when it comes to campaign donations, votes and support for office. For years he made his living trashing Illegal immigrants of Latin origin-illegal immigrants from Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa were off his list. Now that he is out of job, he says, "I can tell you right now that I am one of your greatest friends and I mean for us to work together”

    November 25, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. JR

    The man spends years fueling conservative rage against Latino's and now that he's planning to run for office, he's suddenly "one of your greatest friends", yeah sure, can you spell hypocrite Lou?

    November 25, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Bob

    Lou Dobbs is someone who has propagated views that he doesn't even believe in (because past history tells us that he is much smarter about business than his Free Trade rants would suggest). He did this because it was profitable to take advantage of public fear and ignorance and make a profit. In doing so, he propogated that fear and ignorance. This leads to increased hate in America and reduces the effectivness of democracy (which depends upon a well informed public).

    Lou Dobbs is the worst kind of human being who's own greedyness led him to turn on his own principles at great cost to society.

    November 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Gasman

    What an opportunistic hypocritical fraud Lou Dobbs is. It's obvious that Dobbs was told by political consultants that as long as he is seen as the chief inquisitor on the issue of immigration, he will NEVER have a chance at the presidency. Does he think Latinos are stupid enough to believe his sudden conversion?

    He will win no Latino votes with his foxhole conversion.

    November 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Whenever a rabid rightwinger like Dobbs gets called on his behavior (by showing video clips), the response is always to blame the "efforts of the far left."

    Since when is holding someone accountable for their actions "far left?"

    Dobbs, you can try all you want to "soften" your image in your efforts to weasel your way to the GOP presidential nomination; there's far too much video and audio of you spouting your intolerance to ever convince thinking people that you are anything other than what you so clearly are: a fear-monger and divisive person.

    November 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. S M R

    Lou Dobbs talks out of both sides of his mouth, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop. . . . . .

    November 25, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. djb

    i have great respect for you lou.......please please please don't turn crazy like a rush or a sarah, an ann or a glenn. the world needs fewer self righteous hypocrites and more compassionate straight shooters.

    November 25, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Chris

    He makes a great politician he's already being hypocritical. Mr English only appears on a Spanish language program. looool the greatest friend to the latino community? pleassssseee I wouldn't believe it even in a million years

    November 25, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Dawn

    My My, propaganda "efforts of the far left"
    I believe he's developed some sort of memory loss.
    He should take a look at all the shows that he aired while with CNN. He surely had no help in that department treating the Latino Community as second class citizens.

    November 25, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Jay

    Anything to get elected. Take your seat next to Pawlenty, Romney, and Palin. It's funny how you were delusional in your opposition to immigrants and now all of the sudden you're the Latino community's "greatest friends". I'm not Latino but I am against your crazy hatred against them and other immigrants.

    You just like the rest Mr Dobbs. I won't miss you on CNN. Have fun when you work at Fixed News.

    November 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Brian

    Amazing. I just can't believe the audacity of him to be bashing a community for so long and then say he is "greatest friend". And instead of being accountable for his actions and owning up to it he blames the far left. Real original.

    Really pathetic. On the upside, he would be better than Palin...but who wouldn't be really?

    November 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Allen

    I think Lou Dobbs is a hero. At least he spoke the truth. Thats the problem with this country. Most of the people in this country are in the closet half the time. Oh dear we don't want to talk about the fact, that most of the mexicans in this country are illegally here. They are just hard working people trying to make a living. BLAH BLAH BLAH... the fact is they are all crimmals. Who are getting a FREE ride off the legal US citizens of this country. Now thats the SAD truth. Poor Lou Dodds got the bad end of the stick....This country needs to wake up and start doing something about this injustice thats being done to the American people. Start charging penalties to anyone or company that hires illegals. Hit these companies or people where it counts. In their pocketbooks. Maybe that way they will think twice about hiring illegals then.

    November 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. BJD55

    I can't believe my ears ... I stopped watching him because he was so intense on this issue. Worse than a dog with a bone ... to the point of being an annoying broken record. I wanted more views on more topics. This, coming so quickly after his career change, smells as a run-of-the-mill polical move. While I wish him well, I hope he comes to his senses and doesn't waste his money on a political campaign. Would rather he stick with what he knows and just be less bias about whatever the current events & issues facing USA are.

    November 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Ben

    I usually watch CNN all day whenever I am at home ,then I watched something else whenever Loub Dobbs was on. I am a Canadian ,but I always laughed whenever he came on air and was introduced as Mr independent.Any reasonable person would read through him in no time,and figure out what side he's pulling for.I thought he used to criticize and blast politicians for pandering to ethnocentric groups.What an hypocrite.

    November 25, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Cnn please post my comment! 1 love!

    Too little too late buddy! Game over!

    November 25, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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