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Lou Dobbs abruptly quits CNN on the air -- video

November 11, 2009 |  4:48 pm

CNN's Lou Dobbs resigning on the air 11-11-09

CNN's outspoken and controversial anchor/commentator Lou Dobbs suddenly announced his retirement during his program today, effective immediately.

See the video below.

Dobbs, who's been particularly outspoken on the issue of illegal immigration, said the country's current problems require rigorous discussion based less on partisanship than empirical evidence. He said he'd been under pressure to take a new direction in his life (politics) and he was going to do so in an effort to help save what he called the country's beleaguered system of capitalism.

Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us.

And some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem-solving, as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most direct and honest language possible.

CNN, which isn't doing all that well in recent ratings anyway, has also been under pressure to....

...can his conservative backside. Hence, the mutual agreement to end the star's contract this afternoon 14 months early, after nearly 30 years on-air.

Fox News, which earlier this year picked up another departed CNN personality named Glenn Beck, said it has not been in talks with Dobbs, who will continue his radio show.

Late today one former long-time Dobbs staffer described LD this way:

Lou could be an extremely difficult and demanding boss. I got the impression he was even more difficult to those who tried to manage him. But he knew what he wanted from people and usually got it. He was a fair boss and loyal to his team, which has always operated as a separate feifdom within CNN, pretty much a breakaway republic.

The pudgy, grumpy Dobbs is a Texas native, the son of a propane purveyor and the last of the original CNN anchors; he paid tribute to the network's founder Ted Turner in his retirement statement, along with thanking many of the pioneering network's colleagues,

Dobbs lives on a 300-acre farm in New Jersey's northwest corner. Last year when rumors began circulating that Dobbs was interested in entering politics, possibly to challenge the Garden state's incumbent Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine, who lost this month anyway, Dobbs was noncommittal. Never say never, is the favored term.

Also, don't forget, Lou was the freely-elected student body president back at Minico High School. And, like the last two guys elected president, he graduated from Harvard.

And, hey, if you're jumping into politics in this day and age, why shoot for the lowly Senate? What about running on a third-party ticket in 2012 as a populist president? The Republicans in Washington have been left behind by the leading edge of populist conservatism anyway. (And libertarian Republican Rep. Ron Paul at 74 now is even older than John McCain! Lou, on the other hand, is a juvenile 64.)

And who else is out there free of elected office with the popular interest and mediagenic personality to chase a political nomination in three years? Just what's-her-name from Alaska who also quit her daytime job last summer, wrote a book and begins her speaking travels this weekend.

The tone of Dobbs' statement today gave clear indication that whatever line of work the one-time local TV reporter settles on in the near future, he'll likely be passing through Newark's airport quite frequently.

Related item:

First peek at Sarah Palin's new book

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Tony Pierce