* Acknowledges commentary stirred friction at CNN
* Vows to keep expressing views in 'public arena'
By Tim Gaynor
PHOENIX, Nov 19 A week after abruptly quitting
his longtime job as a CNN television news host and commentator,
Lou Dobbs said on Thursday he is considering career options
including possible runs for the White House or U.S. Senate.
"Right now I feel exhilaration at the wide range of choices
before me as to what I do next," Dobbs, whose outspoken views
on immigration and other topics often angered liberals, told
Reuters in a telephone interview from New York on Thursday.
Dobbs, 64, a veteran CNN anchor who had become one of the
most divisive figures in U.S. broadcast journalism, announced
last Wednesday he was leaving CNN after spending the better
part of 30 years at the 24-hour cable news network.
He still hosts a daily radio show.
A Texas native, Dobbs has drawn fire from Latino leaders
and civil rights groups for frequent on-air remarks about U.S.
border control and immigration that critics saw as demonizing
He was also seen as lending credence to the "birther"
conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe President Barack
Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate was faked to hide a Kenyan
birthplace that would make the first black U.S. president
ineligible for his office.
Dobbs acknowledged his commentary also stirred friction
with CNN executives.
Discussions with CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein made it
clear Dobbs' style of combining news and opinion was untenable
at the network, Dobbs said.
"They wanted to reverse direction on my show from what had
been a news debate and my opinion to a middle-of-the road, as
Jon Klein styled it, non-opinion show," he said.
"It was just not gratifying to me to sit there and read a
news show -- and I much prefer to be more engaged."
Dobbs vowed to carry on expressing his views "fully and
straightforwardly in the public arena no matter what I decide
to do next."
Since his departure, some have speculated he might run as a
candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey, where he has a
home, or even run as a third-party candidate in the 2012 U.S.
presidential elections -- options he says remain on the table.
"I am ruling nothing out. ... I have come to no conclusions
and no decisions," he said. "Do I seek to have some influence
on public policy? Absolutely. Do I seek to represent and
champion the middle class in this country and those who aspire
to it? Absolutely. And I will."
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Todd Eastham)