Republican strategists are watching Lou Dobbs.
The CNN anchor has been taking an increasingly high-profile role in the debate on immigration—Dobbs’s “Broken Borders” segments on his evening CNN show are famous—and he’s been harshly criticizing President Bush on the Dubai ports deal and on trade issues.
Some GOP aides think that Dobbs might be gearing up to run for president as an independent in 2008, becoming a cross between Ross Perot and the angry newsman from the 1976 movie Network, who was “mad as hell and . . . not going to take it anymore.”
As one aide to a GOP presidential contender explained, “You don’t say the things he’s saying and appear in the places he’s appearing unless you’re contemplating something.”
With several border states in play in 2008, a third-party immigration/jobs candidate could make the 42 electoral votes of Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida much harder to win—and, as Ralph Nader showed in 2000, third-party candidates can tip a close race.
Dobbs says a candidacy is out of the question: “I can tell you quite forthrightly it has never entered my mind to run for even a nanosecond. And I can assure you that it never will.”
As for his political affiliation? Dobbs says he’s a solid independent: “Both parties are such a disappointment to me right now. I can’t find a significant difference between them.”