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. katy Heys

    Lou has lost his mind. He didn't used to be nuts. But now he is.

    November 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Bertina

    I hope he tries to go against Palin. It would be perfect.

    November 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Jim Martin

    Typical wishy washy candidate attempting to be everything to every one. He sounds just like all the others. There is no way he can take this stand if he wants to get elected to any office. This is no way to make angry and frightened white men vote for him like this. Stick by you guns, pal.

    November 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. RALPH R

    I have watched Lou Dobbs for several years and i for many years thought he was right on target.For the last while he seemed to have a personal axe to grind. now it comes clear he wants to run for President. It will be a tough row to hoe without the Latino vote. He is just another politician.

    November 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Dog Bite It

    Go Lou Go
    Comon Sense will win the hearts and minds of the
    VAST Majority of Americans.

    November 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. henry

    One word for Lou Dobbs.....Hypocrite.
    When did you become a friend of Latinos.
    FYI Its not easy for a leopard to change its spots.

    November 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. me

    Save yourself the embarrassment, you crazy fool, and your money...

    November 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. D.WARD

    Lou, do you really think the American public believes you or would even vote for you?To be President it takes strong leadership (leading with a balanced hand) integrity, ethics as will as a fair and balanced view of all races and issues that our great nation faces daily. Of which sir, you have not demonstrated at any time in your life . Retire and shut up.

    November 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Julie

    Gee Lou, you're sounding more and more like every other politician out there. That didn't take very long. It's a whole different matter when you have to start looking at ALL sides of the issues and realize they represent real people and their lives. Not as cut and dried as you made it out to be on your show. Welcome to the real world away from tv networks and ratings. You need to come up with better positions then what we're already getting from all the other seasoned politicians if you hope to stand out for "reform".

    November 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. DMR

    Dobbs is clearly a bit to full of himself. He offers little to benefit anyone, especially the conservative, as he brings nothing to the table. He will quickly learn that if he enters the political arena, that he will be subject to intense scrutiny, and what is likely to be found is he is little more than a talking head with no viable answers for his :"big talk". Let he and Palin run on a combined ticked. That owuld be great fun to watch and the GOP will not see the inside of the White House for 50 years after that.

    November 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Amazed

    Does anyone really believe anything that comes out of Lou Dobbs' mouth? Lou was one of the most untalented conjecture filled journalist I've seen on a major network. If he honestly think he can challenge President Obama on any level other than stupidity He should wake up and apologize.

    November 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. james

    Now when he thinks he will need some hispanic support, he has changed his views, yea right.....This guy has been spouting anti-immigrant crap for years. When I used to run across his show from time to time, I seriously thought CNN had a dedicated program about immigration.

    November 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. JB-Florida

    Lou, do you think for a minute that Latinos are going to fall for that? You think you're going to erase years of constant attacks and innuendos with an appearance on Telemundo and a couple of statements? I guess all those years when you were tearing immigrants apart you didn't think you were going to be in this position and looking to run for office. And now you realize that the Latino vote is crucial. Go ahead, make our day, try running for office. There's no need to remind anyone in the Latino community of who you are and what you really stand for, but if needed, there are so many of your immigrant-bashing programs to choose from. The fact is: you are an enemy of immigrants and the Latino community.

    November 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Alex

    What a nincompoop.

    November 25, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Claire White

    What's the one about leopards and stripes?

    November 25, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Bill

    The odds are very good I will not support him. I have heard him be critical of what he is now embracing.

    November 25, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Logan

    Good luck getting conservative votes now Lou. Thanks for being like all the other politicians and changing your views to fit who you are talking with. Stand up and say it. Illegal Immigrants should be penalized by being sent home and put in line like everyone else that is trying to immigrate legally. Enough said.

    November 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. AG

    What an idiot.

    November 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Bev

    Lou Dobds is a hypocrite. and a joke...why not run on his values that he has been promoting all these years.."GET RID OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, PERIOD" All of a sudden he is softening stance; wants to work with the Latino community....What a joke. Please Lou, dont be a fake. tell it like it is. You DO NOT LIKE THE LATIN COMMUNITY.

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

    Funny how ones views change when they want to get elected. Time to get off of your stump. You are now no better than those you rip into on your shows.

    November 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Victim of reading other Victim's posts

    Anyone else feel like these message boards mirror Jerry Spinger audience comments?

    We should be ashamed of ourselves but we're all too busy being right.

    Think about it...

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

    Since leaving CNN he feels anyone actually cares what he thinks. Maybe Palin who left her position as governor and he can exchange a thought, and both run in 2012. Wouldn't that ensure a democratic win. LOL

    November 25, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. marilyn

    well Lou, I was so excited you left CNN; was hoping you would join the Fox Cable Network, and even happy you were thinking of becoming a "politician"..but you lost me for good sir when you changed your views on illegal immigrants.

    That's the problem with our government-politicians. Spineless. Too many weak, fearful people easily swayed to change their opinion for the sake of votes, regardless how wrong it may be.....

    I want you to understand, although I'm for sending everyone back that's illegal, that's not the main reason I had faith in you. To me, you seemed to have something you believed in; enough to take a stand on it....backing down because you fear you can't win without the latino vote?????? wrong...

    Sorry sir...I'm disappointed in you.

    November 25, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Tayo, NY

    Interesting, very interesting!

    It is very easy to critisize from afar than to be in a position to provide solutions to multitute of problems.

    To me Lou Dobbs is not different from average politician; He ccomplains and critisize people for thier actions without having any real alternative solutions to the problems.

    It is interesting that he is even considering softening his position on immigration now that he is aiming at office.

    He talks down on Spanish and other immigrants as if they are all big time criminals yet he want to have their support sometimes in the future. We will never forget his action and his place in history book.

    Americans will never forget, and time will tell.

    November 25, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. timz

    You can't expect to make a serious run for President unless you first prove your ability to pander with the best of them. Looks like Lou Dobbs can check that one off the list. Now . . . how about the ability to jack up rich donors for big bucks?

    November 25, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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