Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on "Meet the Press" on Sunday to play what is, by now, a very familiar role: Trying to translate Trump's many statements on, well, everything into some sort of coherent political message. It was a valiant effort. Using Genius, I annotated it. You can too! Sign up for Genius and annotate alongside me! To see an annotation, click or tap the highlighted part of the transcript.
CHUCK TODD: Welcome back, just out this morning is a new ABC tracking poll, and it has some tough news for Donald Trump, the poll has Hillary Clinton up by double digits nationally, 12 points, 50 to 38 in a four-way race. This is according to them, likely voters. Last week, by the way, ABC's poll had Clinton up by just four. In front of me now is the campaign manager for Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway. Kellyanne, welcome back to the show.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Hi Chuck.
CHUCK TODD: Let me just ask you about all of these national polls have come out, most of them have shown a large lead for Secretary Clinton, there are a couple that have different methodology that have shown a tighter race. Where do you see this race right now? Do you acknowledge that your behind?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: We are behind. She has some advantages, like $66 million in ad buys just in the month of September, thereby doubling her ad buys from August. Now, most of those ads are negative against Donald Trump, classic politics, personal destruction, (UNINTEL) kind of ads. And that she has tremendous advantages.
She has a former president, happens to be her husband, campaigning for her. The current president and first lady, vice president, all much more popular than she can hope to be. And she's seen as the incumbent. So our advantage going in when we're behind one, three, four points in some of these swing states that Mitt Romney lost to President Obama, Chuck our advantage is that Donald Trump is just going to continue to take the case directly to the people.
He doesn't expect to be able to cut through the noise or the silence and the way we're treated by some. And so he's taking the case, he's going to visit all of these swing states many times, as is his running mate, Governor Pence. And we feel that with Hillary Clinton under 50% in some of these places, even though she has run a very traditional and expensive campaign, that we have a shot of getting those undecided voters that somehow have said, "I know who Hillary Clinton is, I don't want to vote for her, I don't much trust or like her," we need to bring them aboard over the next couple of weeks.
CHUCK TODD: You know, so yesterday then it made a lot of sense that you guys had a reset speech, Donald Trump going to Gettysburg to try to, and he quoted Lincoln at the top, talking about healing divisions. But before he got to his first 100-day agenda items, and it was as substantive of a speech that he's given in a couple of months, he started out talking about threatening to sue all of the accusers that have come out alleging sexual misconduct. Is that a way to reset the last 16 days of this campaign?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: It's a way to defend himself, and remind everybody what he has said many times, which is none of this is true, they're fabrications, they're all lies. And he dispensed with that in a sentence or two. But he did talk about the rigged, corrupt system. And it did, unfortunately, include some of the media. Not most, not all.
But it does include some. We see all these revelations, Chuck, 96% of the donations politically went to Hillary Clinton by working journalists, 96%. There's no arguing with a number like that--
CHUCK TODD: There was no political journalists in there. I get where you're going with that. But that includes people that cover stories for entertainment--
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, this is important though.
CHUCK TODD: I mean, I'm just saying, I mean, let's at least give it some nuance here.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Okay, let's give it nuance. So we'll give it down a couple points from 96%. There isn't a nuance in some of these revelations, Chuck. You have a print reporter from a major outlet saying, "Hey, I'm now just a hack," John Podesta. So here Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, "Do you like what I'm saying in my article? Here's some editorial latitude for you. Would you like to change anything?"
I mean, this just should not be-- so when he talks about the rigged, corrupt system, remember, he's standing up for the forgotten man and the forgotten woman. This is not about him. This is about the people. This is about folks who are white-knuckled at the end of each month trying to pay the bills. This is about the people who feel like their pressing their nose against the glass of the rigged system and can't get in, they're just watching everybody else benefit. He's speaking for them. And he has legitimacy here, Chuck, because he was once an insider. He said that yesterday.
CHUCK TODD: No, I understand that--
KELLYANNE CONWAY: --verified air
CHUCK TODD: But he didn't speak about that. He instead focused on himself. He instead talked about the allegations and he instead brought it up. I mean, does his campaign--
KELLYANNE CONWAY: That was a small piece of a 42-minute speech.
CHUCK TODD: Threatening a lawsuit though to all of these women. Let me ask you this, if they're all, why not sue them now? Why wait till after the election?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Because we're busy winning the presidency. We're a little bit busy over here doing that. And but he's just I think putting people on notice, that they can't just falsely accuse them. He has said, "None of this has happened, they're all fabrications and lies."
And then he went on to give, I thought, a really muscular, robust, very substantive outline of what he would do. I worked on the first contract with (UNINTEL), and this reminded me of that, Chuck, in that there is specific solutions and he also says, "Hold us accountable. There's no accountability in Washington. Drain the swamp."
CHUCK TODD: Given the various tweets, maybe subtle tweets that you've done this week, when people have said, "Hey," somebody shouted, "I wish he would focus on message more." Or, "Boy, 'bad hombres,' that's a Trump-being-Trump answer, not a Conway-esque answer." And you sort of pointed almost with a wink and a nod. And then I want to get you to react to something that a Trump supporter said to Mike Pence yesterday. Take a listen.
MALE VOICE:Tell Donald Trump to stick to the issues. And he'll beat Hillary. I'm tired of the (UNINTEL).
KELLYANNE CONWAY Good luck, good luck.
CHUCK TODD: That voter, if you didn't fully hear it, I know you don't have a monitor in front of you, he said, "Tell Donald Trump," this is what he said to Mike Pence, "Tell Donald Trump to stick to the issues. If he does, he can win." Do you wish he wouldn't have brought up the lawsuit threat yesterday?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think Donald Trump is at his best when he sticks to the issues. It's how he started, he first propelled his candidacy, and it's how he beats Hillary Clinton. The issues that actually benefits the Trump/Pence ticket in this way. People believe that radical Islamic terrorism has not been defeated. They don't much like ObamaCare, they think it's been a bad deal for many Americans. They certainly think everyday affordability is elusive to them, Chuck.
And they're very concerned about education. All of which in trade and renegotiating these awful trade deals, bringing back manufacturing jobs, that's the issue set, building the wall, securing the border, that propels Donald Trump. And when he talks at it like he did yesterday in Gettysburg, he's at his finest. Just on those tweets, because I actually have a sense of humor that maybe some are lacking, earlier in the debate, as does my client here, Donald Trump, so that's all good. We're having a great time here.
On the Bob Costa, "bad hombres," and the rest Conway-esque tweet, that came early in the debate. And I only retweeted it for a very simple reason. I was literally gleeful, and a little bit emotional, which is not really my style, on just hearing at last a Republican presidential candidate before tens of millions of people giving the best messaging, the best impassioned defense of life, the sanctity of life that I have heard anyone give.
And it took a Manhattan billionaire who used to be pro-choice to do it. He talked about being pro-life, and what it meant, and then he took the case right to Hillary Clinton. "You're the one who's extreme, abortion anyone, any time (UNINTEL), you would rip a baby out of the womb." Been working on that for decades, it took Donald Trump to do it.
CHUCK TODD:Let me ask you this final question here, the election-rigging criticism, voter-fraud fears, this and that. Donald Trump appears to have walked it back a little bit, you walk it back a lot. Everybody that works for Donald Trump has walked it back a lot. But our new NBC/SurveyMonkey poll showed nearly half of Trump supporters will believe the election is rigged if he doesn't win. Do you accept some responsibility, or does the campaign accept some responsibility for that number being so high with so little evidence to prove it?
KELLYANNE CONWAY:No, people already think the entire system is rigged against him, and they're right, meaning, the corrupt, rigged system. The elections every four years are just part of that to them. They feel like they can't get a fair shake. It is the essence of the Donald Trump candidacy, Chuck.
CHUCK TODD: But do you believe the elections are rigged in this country?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, I don't like a lot of the information that we've been reading, the objecting information about all the dead people enrolled, all the --
CHUCK TODD: You know, people die every--
But all of that stuff's been debunked. I mean, people die, there's something--
Nearly two and a half million people die every year that are on the voter rolls. So it takes time to get dead people off the voter rolls.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: It takes our government an awful lot of time to do most things competently, and that's part of the problem here. He's talking about the entire rigged, corrupt system. But look, when it comes to the elections, I think if you went through every single hypothetical possible, with my colleague Robby Mook, even his client Hillary Clinton, they would walk back, "We're going to accept the election results."
Meaning, he said, "Well, if you lost by a half a point in this state, or if it came down to 500-some votes in that state, we just don't know." And so of course we respect the principles in American democracy, and if we're so high-mindedly concerned about the principles of American democracy, as so many chest-beaters were this week, Chuck, ask Hillary Clinton why she takes tens of millions of dollars from countries that hate women and disrespect women, that throw gays off of buildings. That is not respecting our democracy, using the State Department as a concierge for foreign donations, not really respecting our American democracy.
CHUCK TODD: Kellyanne Conway, I will leave it there. Thanks for coming on the show.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Thank you, Chuck.