How powerful is Lou Dobbs?

How powerful is Lou Dobbs?

At a discussion yesterday featuring U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on the global economy, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank had this to say:

The most influential economic spokesman in America today is Lou Dobbs, who regards the rest of the world somewhat suspiciously in terms of the negative impact he believes it has on America’s middle class and working Americans.

Granted, Frank was only trying to make the point that Americans are starting to feel like the global economy is a losing proposition for U.S. workers and therefore are now taking on a more protectionist stance. Though Frank admitted he doesn’t agree with most of Dobbs’ positions, it’s still a stretch to think that one CNN anchor holds so much sway over the American public.

That’s Thomas Friedman’s take as well:

I would greatly dispute Barney Frank’s statement that Lou Dobbs is the most important economic voice in this country … People aren’t stupid. They want the truth. They understand the world they are living in.

Who’s right?