Pondering a Senate Race, Dobbs Courts Latinos

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As speculation swirls around Lou Dobbs' political ambitions, the former CNN anchor is reaching out to Latinos. On Friday, Dobbs appeared on the Spanish-language network Telemundo saying undocumented workers should have a path to legalization—a position he once denounced as "amnesty." The volte-face comes days after Dobbs said he's considering a 2012 run for a New Jersey Senate seat (others believe he may run for president). Meanwhile, the ink is still drying on the $8 milllion severance package he signed to leave CNN. Does Dobbs have what it takes for a senate run? Will Latinos warm to him? Pundits weigh in:

  • It's Gonna Be an Uphill Battle, writes at Jonathan Berr at Daily Finance: "Yes, the world is Dobbs's oyster. But first, he'll have to convince New Jersey Latinos that he's not actually a frothing-at-the-mouth racist, despite his years of incendiary commentary against illegal immigration. It's a difficult task, but it's not impossible. In the 1960s, Alabama Gov. George Wallace gained national fame with his battle-cry -- 'Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!' -- but renounced that view after becoming a born-again Christian. Wallace, who survived a 1972 assassination attempt, later appointed record numbers of African-Americans to positions in his administration and championed voting rights. Of course, not everyone forgave Wallace -- who, like Dobbs, was viewed as a leading political populist -- but many did."
  • His Poll Numbers Aren't Terrible, notes Chris Good at The Atlantic: "Dobbs Polls at 6 percent... Not bad... It might be an ideal scenario for him with Romney as the GOP's nominee: Romney doesn't have much populist appeal to eat into Dobbs' prospective support base; Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, do."
  • The Senate Today, the White House Tomorrow? Alex Koppelman at Salon doesn't think time is on Lou Dobbs' side: "For the record, the idea that Dobbs could mount a successful campaign for Senate is almost as far-fetched as the idea that he could become president. But the real problem with his making a run for the Senate, if he does indeed harbor White House dreams, is that Menendez isn't up for re-election until 2012. That means Dobbs couldn't run for president until 2016 at the earliest. By then he'd be 71."
  • I Don't Believe It, writes Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo: "Who is this impostor that has replaced the Lou Dobbs we all know and love -- and how much cheaper is he working?"
  • Really Lou? Really? asks Pareene at Gawker: The funny thing, Lou, is that you were the one who attempted to create the impression, without evidence, that all illegal immigrants were criminals. You know-nothing prick. You made your name on one issue, Lou, and one issue alone: that there are too many Mexicans, that the Mexicans are scary, and that they should all go back to Mexico, because they are disease-ridden criminals. You lied about how many immigrants there are, you called them "an army of invaders," you said they wanted to reannex the Southwestern United States, you claimed they were spreading leprosy, you spent hours of airtime openly, blatantly lying, in order to inflame anti-immigrant hysteria. That is what you did. For years."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.