Lou Dobbs

Longtime CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced on his show Wednesday that he's leaving.

Dobbs' resignation is effective immediately.

"Some leaders in the media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and engage in constructive problem-solving," Dobbs said before listing off issues such as the growth of the middle class, health care and immigration. "I will continue to strive to deal honestly and straightforwardly with those issues in the future."

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Dobbs did not announce his next move but did say he is "considering a number of options and directions."

"I'm the last of the original anchors here on CNN and I'm proud to have had the privilege to helping to build the world's first news network," Dobbs said. "I will be eternally grateful to CNN, to Ted Turner, and to all of my colleagues and friends, and of course to you at home."

Dobbs, 64, had recently come under fire for his stance against immigration and for U.S. border enforcement. He told listeners of his syndicated radio show last month that a gunshot had been fired at his New Jersey home and that he had received threatening phone calls.

Media Matters for America released a statement applauding Dobbs' departure. "For too long, CNN provided Lou Dobbs with its stamp of approval as he pursued a dangerous, one-sided and all too often false conspiracy-tinged crusade against immigrants," said Eric Burns, the group's president. "This is a happy day for all those who care about this nation of immigrants and believe in the power of media to elevate the political discourse."

"For decades, Lou fearlessly and tirelessly pursued some of the most important and complex stories of our time, often well ahead of the pack," CNN President Jonathan Klein said. "All of us will miss his appetite for big ideas, the megawatt smile and larger-than-life presence he brought to our newsroom, and we're grateful to have known and worked with him over the years.

"With characteristic forthrightness, Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere," Klein added. "We respect his decision and wish him, Debi [Dobbs' wife], and his family the very best."

The Lou Dobbs Tonight host has been with the network for a total of 27 years. He served as the host of Moneyline from the network's 1980 launch through 1999, when he displayed his anger on-air at the then-president of CNN, Rick Kaplan, and left his post days later. Dobbs returned to CNN in 2001 — after Kaplan left — and reclaimed his anchor duties on the renamed Lou Dobbs Moneyline (now called Lou Dobbs Tonight).

CNN has recently been struggling in the ratings, coming in third behind leader Fox News and MSNBC. On Tuesday, Lou Dobbs Tonight attracted 879,000 viewers, second to Fox News' The Fox Report with Shepard Smith.

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Dobbs' departure was first revealed by The New York Times, which reported he told staffers of his exit early Wednesday. According to the Times, his CNN contract was not due to expire until 2011.

A smiling Dobbs signed off his last show with: "As they say, I'll see you next on the radio."