Lou Dobbs: I Never Hired Illegal Immigrants

Lou Dobbs. CBS

Lou Dobbs.
CBS

Former CNN talk show host Lou Dobbs, who is known for his hard line on illegal immigration, today denied that he has ever hired illegal immigrants.

"I have never, nor has The Dobbs Group at any time, hired an illegal immigrant," Dobbs said on his radio show this afternoon.

Dobbs was responding to a story in the Nation magazinealleging that he "has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter."

The story in the liberal magazine alleges that at least five undocumented immigrants worked in Dobbs' gardens and in stables where his family's horses were cared for.

Dobbs, who called the story a "fairly typical hit piece, a smear piece," interviewed the reporter behind the story, Isabel Macdonald, on the radio show. He repeatedly asked Macdonald if he or his company had ever hired illegal immigrants.

Macdonald eventually allowed that Dobbs and his company had not - but she said that his contractors had done so. She pressed Dobbs on why he had not checked the status of the workers.

Dobbs, who was calm throughout the interview, responded that he does not have the standing to check the status of anyone - and said Macdonald sounded like a "nativist" for asking him to do so. He insisted that he wanted to have a friendly conversation with Macdonald despite her "outrageous claims," and said she was trying to "deflect and avoid" his questions.

The two discussed the details of the article, and Macdonald indicated that she believed Dobbs was trying to distract from the main point of the piece, which is titled "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite" - that Dobbs employed (albeit indirectly) illegal immigrants even as he railed against them publicly.

"You have actually contradicted not one single claim that was made in that article," Macdonald said, adding: "Your listeners deserve to know the truth."

Dobbs said in an interview with the Associated Press before the show that the article is "a political assault" based on a lie. He accused Macdonald during the interview of putting out a story that has been "used by the left wing press as a hammer on me."

"I was gonna take the day off, but sometimes circumstances overwhelm those plans, and this is one of those days," he said as the show began.


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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