Lou Dobbs is back. One of the original anchors at CNN — who departed in November 2009 — he has re-emerged in the cable news wars on the Fox Business Network where he now holds court weeknights at 7 p.m. with his new show Lou Dobbs Tonight. He's still a pretty big name and The Biz asked if there are bigger plans ahead for him at Fox News.
TV Guide Magazine: After you left CNN, there was chatter about you going into politics, perhaps running for the U.S. senate seat for New Jersey or even The White House. How seriously were you thinking about pursuing public office?
Dobbs: Very seriously. My wife and I talked about it for some months. I have to say at various points it was tempting. When you have people asking you to do things, it can be very heady stuff. But the important thing is to keep your head and remember who you are. I am without question where I belong and doing exactly what I want. That's what my wife and I decided.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you talk to a political consultant or do any polling?
Dobbs: I didn't.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you hear your name was included in some polls?
Dobbs: I did.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you see the numbers?
Dobbs: I didn't. I was sort of indifferent to what the numbers were. This is what I love doing. I'm with people I love working with at Fox Business. It's a great organization.
TV Guide Magazine: The TV audience for business news isn't huge. You founded CNNfn, a competitor to CNBC that didn't survive. How do you think Fox Business Network will be able to break through?
Dobbs: My job is to build an audience for my broadcast and that's what we're working strenuously to do. We've managed to get the program on and now our job is to build an audience. It's going to take months before we become competitive... We are the underdog and we understand that. It's one of the great things about being at Fox Business. Everybody I know here relishes being the underdog and being competitive and focused on being competitive. I love that spirit.
TV Guide Magazine: Your new show kind of feels like what you were doing during your last few years at CNN, which did not really feel like a business show.
Dobbs: It doesn't to you?
TV Guide Magazine: No. You talk a lot about public policy. When I heard Glenn Beck was leaving, I thought 'I could see Lou Dobbs in this time slot on the Fox News Channel.'
Dobbs: Well that's very nice of you. You do realize I've got an assignment.
TV Guide Magazine: You don't think there's any chance of that you could replace Beck?
Dobbs: None that I can see. I'm here to do a very specific job and I relish it. I love what I'm doing.
TV Guide Magazine: Donald Trump has been making a lot noise about whether President Obama was born in the United States...
Dobbs: I've never known Donald Trump to make a lot of noise. What a shocking statement!
TV Guide Magazine: You commented on the issue of the president's birthplace a lot on your show. Where do you stand on it now? Are you now convinced that the president was born in the United States?
Dobbs: Just to keep the record straight, I've always said President Obama was born in the United States. I've always said that he's a citizen of the United States. What I've also said is 'why the man doesn't present his birth certificate and get rid of the issue?' This has been going on for three years. C'mon. It's a reasonable question. If it's controversial to ask questions these days we've really arrived in quite a state in this country haven't we?
TV Guide Magazine: Do you think Trump is going to run for president?
Dobbs: I don't know. But I think he's having a lot of fun.
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