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Dobbs Courts Latino Support, Angers Nativists

Think back to Jennifer Anniston’s distress when Brad Pitt dallied with Angelina Jolie; Debbie Reynolds’ angst when Eddie Fisher strayed with Elizabeth Taylor. Now meet the latest big-name heartbreaker: Lou Dobbs. No, he hasn’t left his wife. But some of his most ardent anti-immigration supporters at Americans for Legal Immigration PAC – ALIPAC -- are feeling shock and betrayal like that of a cuckolded lover. Lou, they cry, has embraced the enemy, caught in flagrante delicto on the American Spanish-language television network, Telemundo, making nice to Hispanics and immigrants. And if you missed the program, why, there it is on YouTube. To some ALIPAC members, it was comparable to a far-right conservative discovering Ann Coulter in a steamy tryst with Bill Maher.

Dobbs, you recall, left CNN as abruptly as a ruler toppled in a coup on Nov. 11, after the SPLC and other organizations had persistently urged he be fired because of his repeated falsehoods about undocumented immigrants on his CNN show and on his radio program. One of the most infamous myths, in 2005, was that they were at least partly responsible for 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the United States in the prior three years. There actually were about 400 new cases, and nobody knew what role immigrants had in those numbers. The Columbia Journalism Review wrote that Dobbs was “tamper[ing] with facts” and David Leonhardt wrote in The New York Times that “Mr. Dobbs has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

Then Dobbs was interviewed on Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo on Nov. 20. He assured the Latino community that he is one of its “greatest friends” who has been falsely portrayed by the far left. He told interviewer Maria Celeste that “we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants under certain conditions.” He added, “What isn’t working is a penalty to those who are in this country illegally for whom we can both be building a bridge to the future in which there is legalization and at the same time constructing an environment in which everyone is clear and unequivocal about the need for border security and a regulated flow of immigration.”

ALIPAC President William Gheen has been one of Dobbs’ most dewy-eyed devotees. Like Dobbs, Gheen has a penchant for flamboyant and false claims when it comes to undocumented immigrants. He claimed in 2005, for example, that proposed legislation in North Carolina would permit “in-state tuition for illegal aliens,” when only those in the country legally and had applied for citizenship would have been affected. [ALIPAC is supported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform – FAIR – which has been designated as a hate group by the SPLC].

In an open letter to Dobbs before his CNN exit, Gheen claimed that the SPLC, La Raza, Media Matters and the Associated Press were in cahoots to depose or muzzle Dobbs before filing amnesty legislation for undocumented immigrants.

“You and your shows have been leaders in the battle to get accurate information out and to have a truly informed electorate in America,” Gheen gushed in an open letter to Dobbs in August.

Now Gheen sounds like Kate Gosselin upon learning that reality show hubby Jon was seeing another woman.  “I am hurt, dismayed, angry, sad, exasperated, red faced, embarrassed and more after seeing this video,” Gheen was quoted as saying.

Gheen’s North Carolina-based ALIPAC says that, as of today, it had received pledges of more than $672,165 from 3,694 Americans should Dobbs decide to run for president in 2012. ALIPAC has received those pledges at a website it created in early 2008. Activity on the site had increased since Dobbs was mentioned as a possible candidate to oppose New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, but ALIPAC hoped Dobbs’ aims were higher. That is, until the Telemundo interview.

Now many of ALIPAC’s supporters share Gheen’s dismay and distrust. “He sounds like just another disjointed politican,” wrote butterbean on ALIPAC’s website.

“I am appalled that Lou Dobbs has turned into a traitor!” complained thesocialdiva. “What a loser. Hope he doesn’t think he can run for president. He is totally full of crap!”

“We need true red, white & blue Americans in high places,” added Floorguy. “Not Socialist, Communist, Marxists, ruining a once great nation any further. Where is John Wayne, when you need him …..”

After Dobbs’ Telemundo appearance, ALIPAC posted a reader survey online to gauge their sentiments. More than two-thirds of the 1,987 respondents said they were “disappointed,” “upset” or “very upset” with the interview.

Three-quarters of the respondents said they were specifically upset with Dobbs’ statements “supporting legalizing illegal aliens” and his failure to “maintain that illegal immigration is a crime.” Almost as many objected to his promise to compromise with amnesty supporters. And more than 59 percent said that ALIPAC should reject or strongly reject Dobbs as a result of the Telemundo interview.

And so Dobbs perhaps has learned this from his Telemundo interview: Hell hath no fury like a nativist scorned.

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