"Let me ask you about repeating the same topics over and over. Do you does your audience ever get tired of it?" Stahl asks.
"It's interesting you say repeating it," Dobbs remarks.
"Yeah. Over and over," Stahl says.
"I consider it thorough and on-going," Dobbs replies.
It does appear he is hitting a nerve. Dobbs gets 2,000 e-mails a day. He's a new kind of anchorman, less Walter Cronkite than Bill O'Reilly.
Dobbs has described himself as a populist. Asked what he means by that, he says, "An anti-elitist."
Dobbs grew up as far from the centers of power as you can get: in rural Texas and Idaho. He says the family was poor; he picked beans alongside migrant workers in the summers. But he did well in school and ended up going to Harvard University.
"That must've been culture shock, to say the very least. Did the kids make fun of your accent?" Stahl asks.
"I wore cowboy boots, I wore my jeans, I was going to be who the hell I was and as a result, some folks made fun of me," Dobbs recalls.
One day in class a professor asked him where he was from. "And the professor said, 'Idaho?' And he lifted his eyebrows and said, 'Mr. Dobbs, that's the cultural wasteland of America,'" Dobbs remembers. "And the truth of the matter is, he had me pretty well pegged, but he didn't have to say it out loud. You know."
One thing's for sure: Dobbs never left that farm-boy behind. He lives on a 300 acre farm in New Jersey and commutes three hours a day—every day—to and from CNN in New York.
"Are you a gentleman farmer? Is that the right expression?" Stahl asks Dobbs, during a walk on his farm.
"Well, the word would be half-ass farmer," Dobbs says.
The farm is sort of a compound. He lives there with 25 horses, four dogs, a cat, his wife, his 97-year-old mother, and his wife's parents, the in-laws.
Dobbs met his wife Debi at CNN when she was a sportscaster; they've been married 25 years. "He's a small-town boy, country boy. He used to say he was a country boy who's been to the big city," she says.
Dobbs' wife acknowledges her husband is an incredibly tough debater. Asked if she ever wins arguments with her husband, she tells Stahl, "Do I ever win? Of course, Lesley. … Most of 'em."
But she says she tends to agree with what Lou says on his show.
"You never watch him and call him on the phone or wait till he gets home and say, 'Now Lou, tonight you just went too far?'" Stahl asks.
"We do discuss the show. But in terms of going too far, no. Usually, I'll say, 'You didn't go far enough,'" Debi Dobbs says.
There are many who do think Dobbs goes too far. He has become such a scold on the subject of illegal immigration, comedians like Stephen Colbert have teased him about it.
"How do you like our fence?" Colbert asked Dobbs during an appearance on "The Colbert Report," while showing off a prop fence.
"It's very impressive. And better than some of the fence along our border now," Dobbs replied.
"I'm a border fence fan," Colbert said. "I just think we haven't done enough. …Flaming trenches filled with fire-proof... No. No. No. Lou."
But there's little humor on Dobbs' show, with his assaults on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, who he says are endangering the American way of life.
"Several states are trying to restrict illegal immigration by curtailing access to social services," Stahl remarks.
"I happen to think that it is necessary, given the fact that the federal government won't control immigration and won't control our borders," Dobbs says.
"But if you cut off the social, health services, things like that, education … for the kids, do you create a whole other crisis if you do that?" Stahl asks.
"Medical services, no one wants to end," Dobbs says. "But going to food stamps, should taxpayers be paying for food stamps? Should taxpayers be burdened with schools that are overcrowded? Their children therefore are being denied education. Those are very serious issues."