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. Jefe

    It seems such a waste to me that illegal immigration would be his signature issue. I agree it is an important issue, which needs to be addressed, but I think Dobbs has far more value in his platform with issues regarding harmful (to us) trade agreements, special interests influencing decisions on wars, election integrity & China policy.

    Tackling illegal immigration, while a good method to fire up the far right, really pales in comparison to these vastly more important issues. If Mr. Dobbs wishes to stand a chance, he needs to focus more important issues to the forefront. Otherwise, he's only going to attract Palin/Bush Republicans, and 29% does not win an election. He plays his cards right, he could land my (typically Dem) vote.

    November 25, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Tommy

    "Meaningful" and "constructive" are two words I would NOT equate with anything that comes out of Dobbs' mouth. CNN did well by dumping the guy, but they still have much more work to do to bring them out of tabloid status and on the way to real journalism.

    November 25, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Really lou, really? You have been preaching your hate of illegals but now you are best buds with them. You are another hypocritical repug.
    Go back and watch and listen to some of your own programs.
    You are a liar!!!!!!!!!

    "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."

    November 25, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Steve

    Are you kidding? I wouldn't trust this nut job as far as I could throw him.

    November 25, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. RB

    It is really funny that Dobbs has been railing against illegal aliens and now finds himself in a predicament if he is planning a run for office. I love his rebuttal regarding criticism and he quickly blames "left wing media" and democrats because of his position while with CNN. He's nothing more than a lying republican by claiming innocence and besides, wasn't he in the media pushing that illegal alien agenda? This guy is the biggest moron! Fox News must have told him that there is no room for him. "No Spin Here!"

    November 25, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Joe

    I think Lou is gradually migrating his view on immigration by coming into realization that America is a melting port whose compansion and generosity is equal to no country in the face of the planet. Yes, our border needs to be secured but we can not loose our common sense to realize that those who are already here needs to be legalized even if fines are to be imposed as a mere token of penalty. I can now welcome Lou Dobbs to the fold of those who are pragmatic in their assessment of immigration issues. BUT, the question is whether Lou is pandering as all politicians does in their exploratory stage or whether this is a new man in the making.

    November 25, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. MARIA

    The feelings of the Latin community toward Mr. Dobbs are certainly not the result of any propoganda! They stem from Mr. Dobbs arrogant critical words that have been spewed on CNN for far too long. The world is a better place without his vitriol!

    November 25, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. cathy

    This man has publicly and continuously spread his agenda of hate toward Hispanics (illigel or not) for several years on CNN. Now he proclaims he is their "greatest friend" and wants to work closely with them on "immigration reform". Everyone, including Latinos, can see his hypocritical stance on this and all the issues that our nation now faces and how future, presidential canadite Dobbs, will address those issues. He is not a friend to anyone- not Latinos and certainly not the American people. No one can believe that Mr. Dobbs has had a change of heart towards Hispanics, as his "greatest friend" comments come only after his resignation from CNN and his almost certain bid for the White House. This puts him in a race againts who else? Menendez, a Hispanic, who will certainly take any Latino votes from a man who is not about to relent on his well earned title of "No. 1 enemy" of the Latino Community.

    November 25, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. steve

    GO FOR LOU... but to qualify you have to answer the following questions..

    1. Can you see Russia from you house?

    2. And do you read everything in front of you ? like sarah?

    you qualify.....
    shake the system up and call it like you see it. ask those politicans yes or no answers... and why aren't they opting for the public option instead of the govt. insurance they have now... why are they any better.

    November 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. The Other Michael in Houston

    I already had no respect for Lou due to his racist rants but now I just would like to beat his..........

    November 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Ed

    Finally he realized that the illegal immigrants he spent so much time demonizing have friends and family who ARE citizens that can vote. Now that he's trying run for office he's "softening" his stance.

    Some time ago CNN had a documentary on a family who had their parents deported. The kids who were minors had to take over paying their mortgage and were/still having a hard time dealing with the situation. Those kids ARE citizens and will be voting soon. Good luck getting their votes Lou.

    November 25, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. MC in GA

    This is a joke, right Lou? You would never win the Latino vote in my opinion, but you'd still be a better pick than Sarah Palin by a longshot.

    November 25, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Richard

    It appears that Mr. Dobbs has or is going to sell out. What a shame. Now that Dr. Paul has given up, Dobbs has given in. Can we save this Republic???

    November 25, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Paulo

    This just all just looks like an empty gesture until Lou corrects himself about blaming illegals for a rise in leprosy. He still acts like he either never said that or that it didn't happen. Step up to the plate, Lou. It's the price for credibility.

    November 25, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Boston Guy

    This is so funny. Dobbs hated Latino's and now all of a sudden he's one of their greatest friends? I guess he want's their votes for President. The GOP must be so proud of their new comer. Dobbs/Palin or Palin/Dobbs, oh, cannot leave of Rush either.

    November 25, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Dan

    Boarder security huh? As in snowboarders? Or skateboarders?

    Not to be confused with Border security of course.

    November 25, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. cmatter

    blaming the "far left" already

    fits right in...with Fox News

    he stopped being CNN material years ago

    November 25, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Susan, Macedon New York

    Of course he's going to run for office! He's started "flip flopping" already!

    November 25, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. juan carlos

    well said, but too litlle too late.

    November 25, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. maurice estevez

    With such good friends as Lou, who needs enemies. I am sure that as he attempts to run for office he will make many more concilliatory statements, and they will be patently false. Do us all a favor Lou, take your money and just go away and please take Rudy 911iani with you.

    November 25, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. normajean

    Is this a flip-flop to get the Hispanic vote? You bet it is. Don't let him fool you. This man is not to be trusted.

    November 25, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. dave

    what a hypocrite..he's just like all the rest

    November 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. hankers

    "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. " >>>> Trust me now that I am entering politics! LOL

    November 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Branden

    He hasn't even announced his candidacy yet and he's already back peddling from his borderline racist past. Looks like Lou is another lying politician in the works!

    November 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. DonBeal

    As a Democrat, I can only say, "Please, Mr. Dobbs, do run for President. And put Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Sarah Palin on the ticket."

    November 25, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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