In a little-noticed interview last week, Lou Dobbs announced that he now supports amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States
Since he left his job as a CNN commentator two weeks ago, Dobbs’ has been bandied about as a Senate candidate in New Jersey. And now he is indicating that he might run for president.
But Dobbs became famous for his strong views on illegal immigration and foreign trade. Now that he’s a would-be politician, those views appear to be softening. Dobbs told Spanish-language network Telemundo he now supports a plan to legalize millions of undocumented workers, a stance he long lambasted as an unfair "amnesty."
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"Whatever you have thought of me in the past, I can tell you right now that I am one of your greatest friends and I mean for us to work together," he said in a live interview with Telemundo's Maria Celeste. "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."
Dobbs twice mentioned a possible legalization plan for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., saying at one point that "we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants under certain conditions."
On Monday, Dobbs appeared on former Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio show. When asked by the former presidential candidate if he was urged to consider running for president himself and was indeed weighing a bid, Dobbs replied, “Yes is the answer.”
Dobbs told Thompson he was undecided about running for president but said he would “be talking some more with some folks who want me to listen to them the next few weeks.”
He later told a Washington radio station, “For the first time, I’m actually listening to some people about politics. . . . I think that being in the public arena means you’ve got to be part of the solution.”
It’s unclear whether Dobbs, who received an $8 million severance payment when he left CNN, would run as an independent or a Republican.
On Tuesday, Dobbs’ spokesman Robert Dilenschneider sought to quiet the presidential speculation a bit.
He told The New York Times, “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 was referring to a 2012 race against incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez.
Dilenschneider said Dobbs was inspired by Republican gains in New Jersey this month and by President Obama’s decline in popularity.
Dobbs briefly considered a primary run against Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie, who won the election over incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine.
Dobbs has received the most attention for his strident opposition to illegal immigration. Menendez is an avid supporter of immigrant rights and the only Hispanic member of the Senate.
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