Has he thrown away his base of support? Or improved his chances with the angry middle?
My colleague, ABC News’ Teddy Davis , has the story:
Lou Dobbs has lost the political backing of a hard-right anti-illegal immigration group which had been urging him to run for office for several years.
The former CNN anchor fell out of favor with the conservative Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) after giving a Nov. 20 interview to Telemundo, a Spanish television station, in which he said he wanted to “legalize illegal immigrants on certain conditions.”
"While Mr. Dobbs claims his positions have not changed . . . that is not the perception of many of our mutual supporters," said ALIPAC president William Gheen. "His recent comments on Telemundo and his national radio show supporting some kind of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is inconsistent with positions of ALIPAC and the views of most American citizens."
The rupture with ALIPAC came after Dobbs gave a Nov. 20 interview to Telemundo’s Maria Celeste in which he said: “what I have said from the very beginning and which a lot of people have chosen to ignore: (1) we need a rational, effective, humane immigration policy in this country; (2) we need – we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants on certain conditions; and (3) we need to be able to influence the direction of the conversation right now towards securing that border because until we can control immigration we cannot meaningfully, substantively alter immigration law because it would have no point.”
Watch it HERE .
Told by the Telemundo anchor that he now sounded “like a politician” and asked if he would consider running for office, Dobbs said: “Actually, as a matter of fact, that is one of the things that I am considering.”
Dobbs is weighing a run against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J ., and possibly even a run for president in 2012.
ALIPAC circulated the video of the Dobbs-Telemundo interview to its 30,000 national supporters. The group claims that its internal polling shows that “over 70 percent” of its supporters are upset with Dobbs’ comments on Telemundo in support of legalizing illegal aliens. ALIPAC opposes any path to citizenship for illegal aliens currently in the U.S.
As a result, ALIPAC announced on Thursday that it is suspending the operations of the Facebook "Draft Lou Dobbs for President or US Senate" site.
The Facebook page now has a notice on it saying that ALIPAC has pulled its support for Dobbs.
Before yanking ALIPAC’s support earlier today, Gheen went on Dobbs’ radio show on Monday to discuss the Telemundo interview.
Dobbs confirmed for Gheen that he, indeed, had long supported a conditions-based path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
“Why did no one notice?” asked Gheen. “Why did La Raza not notice?”
To which Dobbs answered: “La Raza has got to try to destroy me because I am a centrist, moderate with very strong views on the need for secure borders, secure ports, and a rational immigration policy, William. La Raza hates my guts because they can’t afford to having someone who is making sense here and that is what I am going to do.”
Listen to it HERE .
ALIPAC’s efforts to get Dobbs to run for president stretch back to the last campaign.
Shortly before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, ALIPAC’s president told ABC News that it would “grab Lou Dobbs by the ear and drag him into the race” if the GOP nominated Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, or Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
In the end, nothing came of ALIPAC’s 2008 interest in Dobbs and he remained at CNN until he abruptly stepped down on Nov. 11 of this year to “pursue new opportunities.”