Not a huge deal since, according to his spokesman, he’s more inclined to challenge Menendez for New Jersey’s Senate seat in 2012 than run for prez, but it’s still worth flagging given the running debate we’ve been having about third parties. Just think of me as Groundskeeper Willie. I warned ye. Didn’t I warn ye?

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that if the choice is between President Obama, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Dobbs, Obama leads 42% to 34% with Dobbs pulling 14% of the vote.

With Mike Huckabee as the Republican nominee, Obama leads 42% to 36%, with Dobbs at 12%.

If Sarah Palin is the GOP nominee, it’s Obama 44%, Palin 37% and Dobbs 12%…

With Dobbs out of the equation, Obama and Romney are tied at 44%, Obama leads Huckabee 45% to 41%, and the president leads Palin 46% to 43%.

Dobbs doesn’t hurt Huckabee much — Obama’s lead grows by only two points with him in the race — but he takes a bite from Palin and kills Romney, reducing him from dead even to an also-ran. Which makes sense: Dobbs is likely to draw blue-collar voters and conservatives who are disaffected with the GOP’s squishiness, leaving a white-collar centrist type like Mitt heavily exposed. Beyond the Dobbs factor, though, what’s fascinating is that even though Romney’s favorables are +11 and Huckabee’s a whopping +28(!), Palin does almost as well as the former and actually better than the latter head to head with Obama in a two-man race — despite her net favorables standing at -3. I’m not sure how to explain that except to read the entire survey as a referendum on The One, with any big-name Republican currently well positioned to pull 40 percent simply for being Not Obama. (It’d be interesting to see how, say, Giuliani fares in a hypothetical match-up.)

Speaking of squishiness, what happens to the Dobbs-heads when they hear about this?

In a little-noticed interview Friday, Mr. Dobbs told Spanish-language network Telemundo he now supports a plan to legalize millions of undocumented workers, a stance he long lambasted as an unfair “amnesty.”

“Whatever you have thought of me in the past, I can tell you right now that I am one of your greatest friends and I mean for us to work together,” he said in a live interview with Telemundo’s Maria Celeste. “I hope that will begin with Maria and me and Telemundo and other media organizations and others in this national debate that we should turn into a solution rather than a continuing debate and factional contest.”

Mr. Dobbs twice mentioned a possible legalization plan for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., saying at one point that “we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants under certain conditions.”

“Under certain conditions” can mean a lot of things, but like Mark Krikorian says, the specifics won’t save him now: “The amusing thing is that his ‘growth’ isn’t going to help him in any case — the open-borders crowd won’t believe him and immigration hawks will dismiss him as just another McCain-style phony maverick.” True enough, and doubly true if he follows through and runs against, of all people, a Hispanic senator. Just imagine Menendez’s attack ads against him; he wouldn’t have to venture outside of Media Matters’s clip vault to gather enough material for the entire campaign. Exit question: Isn’t one of the problems with a Dobbs candidacy the fact that Dobbs isn’t even the best known right-leaning independent cable news host? O’Reilly or Beck running for president would create much more heat. Instead, we’re going to elect a guy who couldn’t even beat Shep Smith in the ratings? C’mon.