HILLSIDE, N.J. -- Former CNN host Lou Dobbs is seriously considering running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey in 2012 as "an intermediary step" that could lead to a run for the White House.

Dobbs told former Sen. Fred Thompson's radio program on Monday that he had been urged to run for president and would talk to some people about it.

His spokesman played down the idea. Robert Dilenschneider told The New York Times Wednesday a run for president is a "long way off." The spokesman said there would have to be an "intermediary step," such as the seat held by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Speaking in Hillside, the Senate's only Hispanic member and a strong advocate for immigrant rights said "I'm concentrated on jobs, not Dobbs."

Dobbs owns a farm in rural northwest New Jersey and has criticized immigration policies.