Dobbs eyes presidential run, reaches out to Latinos
Lou Dobbs, who has told interviewers he's exploring a run for political office in 2012, is reaching out to Latino groups after years of clashing with them over immigration and other issues.
But he is likely to find the reception more chilly than he'd like.
Latino groups would "welcome a rational discussion to try to get at workable solutions. But that is not what he has been about," said Luis Valenzuela, executive director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, an advocacy group based in Amityville.
"Latino and immigrant groups view Lou Dobbs as one of the causes of anti-immigrant hatred and they would not want to meet with him," said Patrick Young, program director of the Central American Refugee Center in Hempstead and Brentwood. "In fact, their constituents would view them as committing an act of treason if they met with him."
Dobbs said in remarks to radio interviewers Monday that he was "reaching out right now" to organizations with whom he's had an ongoing debate, such as the Chamber of Commerce and Latino groups. When radio host Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator, asked Dobbs if he was considering a political run in 2012, he replied, "Yes is the answer.
"I'm going to be talking some more with some folks who want me to listen in the next few weeks," Dobbs told Thompson, as reported Tuesday by Politico.com. "Right now I'm fortunate to have a number of wonderful options."
Dobbs's unrelenting attacks on free trade and undocumented immigrants, and more recently, his seeming indulgence of conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama's birthplace and citizenship, drew both fans to his show and outraged critics.
Dobbs is married to a woman of Mexican descent, and says he is not anti-immigrant or anti-Hispanic, but objects to the effects of unlimited immigration on the United States. However, critics have called some of his statements, and those of some of his guests, extremist, especially regarding Hispanic immigration.
Dobbs' political ambitions find support among his legions of admirers, including Southampton resident Elaine Kahl, co-chair of the three-year-old Suffolk County Coalition for Legal Immigration/No Amnesty.
"He's been an advocate for the rule of law, in regard to the illegal immigrant situation, where they cross the border illegally with no consequences," she said. "He's brought the truth out about the gang activity, the drug activity and the lack of security."