* "Lou Dobbs Tonight" debuts on Fox Business on Monday
* Newsman left CNN in 2009, considered run for president
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES, March 14 (Reuters) - Lou Dobbs, the pugnacious
former CNN news anchor who flirted with the idea of running for
U.S. president, is back where he wants to be, hosting a
television show and free from his old network.
The veteran newsman is hosting an hour-long weeknight
program for Fox Business Network debuting on Monday and getting
him "back to business," as the promotional campaign says.
Harvard-educated Dobbs began his career at CNN as a
straight-ahead financial journalist. But by the time he left in
2009 after nearly 30 years, he had become its most populist
anchor by expressing anger against illegal immigration and jobs
going overseas, among other topics.
For a time after his departure from CNN, Dobbs considered
the idea of banking on his popular appeal from years in front
of the camera to campaign for U.S. president. But the
65-year-old has decided against that.
"Politics is not what I love to do. This is what I'm going
to do," he told Reuters.
Dobbs' new show on Fox Business Network is called "Lou
Dobbs Tonight," the same title as his last program on CNN, and
it will air at 7 p.m. eastern time.
The show will tackle big issues of the day, from the debt
crisis facing the federal government and states, to the failure
of the economic recovery to generate job growth, he said.
"The issues that confront the American people are now
clearly in focus, because they're hard to avoid: Job creation
the creation of wealth, restoring prosperity, restoring the
American dream for millions of Americans."
Dobbs started at CNN with its launch in 1980 as the host of
"Moneyline," which became a premier destination for business
news on television in an era before the rise of CNBC.
He later expanded his scope to deal with more social and
political issues, on his program.
Dobbs had a sometimes caustic relationship with management,
at one time finding himself at odds with then CNN/U.S.
president Jonathan Klein over Dobbs' coverage of the so-called
"birther" debate -- the claim by detractors of President Barack
Obama that he was born outside the U.S.
Dobbs did not rule out taking up the "birther" issue on his
new Fox Business show, but he stressed that he believes the
president was indeed born in the United States.
He also said that he has no lingering regrets about leaving
CNN. "I've noticed that they're in my rear view mirror and
getting smaller," he said.
Since its launch in 2007, News Corp-owned Fox
Business has struggled against the dominance in U.S. financial
TV news of rival CNBC, a unit of Comcast Corp's
Fox Business is available in more than 50 million U.S.
homes, compared to 100 million for CNBC.
Kevin Magee, executive vice president of the Fox Business
Network, said Dobbs' new show will be more business-focused
than his recent work at CNN.
"The promo line that we're using is 'Lou Dobbs back to
business,' and in fact he is," Magee said. "He has always been
a terrific business mind."
Media industry watchers had expected Dobbs might go to Fox
News, the conservative network where on-air personalities
express their opinions more than at CNN.
Dobbs said he likes the Fox brand, and has for some time.
"I have to confess that I watched Fox far more than I
watched anyone else," he said.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)
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