It was Luis vs. Lou on Thursday night.
CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, leading a strident crusade against illegal immigration, dangled bait in front of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) but he did not bite.
The two have a history.
Gutierrez, a House Democratic leader on immigration who plays on a national level on this issue, believes that Dobbs’ ``Broken Borders’’ segment is more like a ``Broken Record.’’
He took to the House floor last year to chastise Dobbs in a series of speeches for giving a platform to ``to anti-immigration extremists.’’
Gutierrez is unalterably opposed to a bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) the House passed Dec. 16 creating new criminal penalties for illegal immigrants, their employers and the people who help them.
More than a year ago, Gutierrez brought Dobbs to a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to see if the group could temper some of his illegal immigrant-bashing views. Though the meeting was cordial Dobbs only got worse on immigration, Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez came into the House Radio and TV gallery for a live remote interview with Dobbs with pages of fiery and combative talking points. Turned out he did not use them.
The Dobbs interview with Gutierrez segment was labeled with an attitude: ``War against the middle class.’’
Gutierrez was introduced by Dobbs with a double putdown, ``he not only voted against the Sensenbrenner legislation, but he helped bring 100,000 folks to the streets of Chicago to protest it.’’
Gutierrez decided to ignore the dis, though while factually accurate, portrayed him as a rabble rouser and ignored the point he is part of the House Democratic immigration team and a national spokesman on the issue for the party.
A pending Senate compromise (collasping as I write this) provides for a path for legal status for illegal immigrants that involves paying a $2,000 fine.
``The idea of buying citizenship. Does that feel right to you?’’ asked Dobbs.
``Well, they are not buying it, they are paying a penalty,’’ said Gutierrez, very calmly.
Dobbs said he’ll have him back on the show next week.
He’ll have time to fish around for new bait.
On Sunday, Gutierrez is scheduled to talk about immigration issues on NBC’s ``Meet the Press.’’