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Monday, January 23, 2017

Conway tamed Chuck Todd

"Don't be fooled, because I am a man by day."

If Republicans want to know how Donald Trump succeeded in his hostile corporate takeover of their party, I suggest they review Conway's takedown of Chuck Todd on his "Meet the Press" program yesterday.

President Trump and company do not kiss up to the media because Trump and company realize the media are paper tigers.

And clueless. Consider Sunday's "Meet the Press."

TODD: "Nobody’s going to mistake Donald Trump for a presidential candidate, I don’t think, other than Donald Trump."

Oh wait. That is what Todd said on his show on January 25, 2015.

Now Todd wants to talk about how Trump's inauguration crowd was smaller than Obama's.

Here was the exchange on Sunday:
TODD: I'm curious why President Trump chose yesterday to send out his press secretary to essentially litigate a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size. I guess my question to you is why do that?
CONWAY: Chuck, the president did many things yesterday and the day before that are very meaningful to America.
He signed executive orders to stop Obamacare and all of its problems. Many people have lost their-- Millions of people have lost their insurance, their doctors, their plans. So that stops right now.
He's going to replace it with something much more free-market and patient-centric in nature. And on this matter of crowd size, I mean, for me I think the most quantifiable points of interest for Americans should be what just happened a few months ago that brought him here, the 31 of 50 states he won, the 2,600 counties, the 200 counties that went for President Obama that now went to President Trump.
And the fact that 29, 30 million women voted for Donald Trump for president. They should be respected. Somebody should cover their voices as well.
I'm about things that are quantifiable and important. I don't think that-- I don't think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration. I think they're judged by their accomplishments. And we know that President Obama and his accomplishments, that there's a lot of unfinished business there.
And on this matter of crowd size I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives.
I'm very heartened to see Nielsen just came out with the ratings, 31 million people watching the inauguration. President Obama had 20.5 million watching his second inauguration four short years ago.
So we know people are also watching the inauguration on different screens and in different modes. And that there was, I mean, for me there was a prediction of a downpour of rain. I think that deterred many people from coming. But no question there were hundreds of thousands of people out on the mall and --
TODD: All right, Kellyanne, let me stop you here because--
She had him.

She was not going to let him set the agenda. He wanted to talk about crowd size. She talked about Obamacare.

Later, they sparred again.
CONWAY: Chuck, I mean, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we're going to have to rethink our relationship here. I want to have a great open relationship with our press. But look what happened the day before talking about falsehoods.
We allowed the press-- the press to come into the Oval Office and witness President Trump signing executive orders. And of course, you know, the Senate had just confirmed General Mattis and General Kelly to their two posts. And we allowed the press in. And what happens almost immediately? A falsehood is told about removing the bust of Martin Luther King Junior from the Oval Office. No, that's just flat out false. And the pool writer--
TODD: And it was corrected immediately--
CONWAY: But why-- Chuck, why was it said?
To portray him as a racist.

But Todd thought he had her on the stupid issue crowd size issue. Todd got the issue backward. Trump did not raise it because he is angry and his ego is bruised.

Trump brought it up to discredit the media. So on Saturday night, Trump's spokesman fed the media some nonsense. And the next morning, Todd kept bringing it up.
CONWAY: Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What-- You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains--
TODD: Wait a minute. Alternative facts?
Todd thought he had a gaffe. Watch what happened.
CONWAY: --that there's--
TODD: Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered, the one thing he got right--
CONWAY: --hey, Chuck, why-- Hey Chuck--
TODD: Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.
Then she laid down her trump card.
CONWAY: Chuck, do you think it's a fact or not that millions of people have lost their plans or health insurance and their doctors under President Obama? Do you think it's a fact that everything we heard from these women yesterday happened on the watch of President Obama? He was president for eight years. Donald Trump's been here for about eight hours. 
Do you think it's a fact that millions of women, 16.1 million women, as I stand here before you today, are in poverty along with their kids? Do you think it's a fact that millions don't have health care? Do you think it's a fact that we spent billions of dollars on education in the last eight years only to have millions of kids still stuck in schools that fail them every single day? These are the facts that I want the press corps to cover.
Conway came prepared.

Alternative facts was her bait. I am convinced of it. These people could out-troll Munchkinland.

It worked. Todd was arguing crowd sizes, she was arguing Obamacare. Which one was the serious person?

Todd tried another tactic. On Saturday, President Trump spoke to CIA workers at the memorial to slain CIA agents.

He mentioned in passing the huge number of people at the inauguration the day before. The press pounced on that, as did Todd.
CONWAY: What else did he say to the CIA though?
TODD: -- and talk about crowd sizes?
CONWAY: You don't want to talk about the rest of this-- what he said at the CIA. First of all, his very presence at the CIA sent a great message to our men and women, our brave men and women in the intelligence community. He went to the CIA yesterday. He thought he was going to witness the swearing in of his CIA director, Mike Pompeo. But you know why that didn't happen, Chuck? Because the United States Senate won't confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA director. Ask Senator Schumer why that is.
Todd said he would and later in the program, he did.
CONWAY: Ask him why Donald Trump as president has nominated 21 of the 21 cabinet positions only to have two, a grand total of two, confirmed while he takes office? So the Democratic Senate wants to hold up treasury, commerce, energy, education. The list goes on.
We should have the respect and deference of having a cabinet seated so this peaceful transition of power occurs properly. But he went to the C.I.A. because lies have been told about his relationship and his respect for the intelligence community. So he went right there. We had over 1,000 requests to attend. We can only accommodate three or four hundred.
Todd was in over his head with Conway. He kept asking about the crowd size (and the press tweeted small hands references about it throughout the weekend) and she kept pushing on to substantive issues.

The home audience of 3 million or so (O'Reilly averages slightly more than that five nights a week) was left with the impression that she was a woman of substance.

But Todd kept hammering away at crowd sizes.
TODD: It's a political tactic to come up with alternative facts and try to set up the press as your enemy?
CONWAY: No, I didn't say that at all. And that's not why I'm here in this building. I'm here because of all the provable, quantifiable facts, because of the devastation and destruction in our schools with our health care, in our economy, with our small business owners.
And yes, certainly-- with-- with terrorism, infrastructure. This guy is going to do so much in the first week. He's going to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today about the Middle East, about Iran. He's going to end the week receiving Prime Minister Theresa May from the U.K. here. His first foreign leader to be received here.
They're going to help renegotiate U.S./U.K. trade. But you want to talk about things the media doesn't want to cover. You totally missed Brexit and Theresa May. You totally missed Trump's campaign. You want to talk about provable facts? You've missed it all along. America doesn't really-- I mean, look, you got 14% approval rating in the media that you've earned. You want to push back on us. And yet you have a 14%--
TODD: All I'm looking for is--
CONWAY: --approval rating.
Speaking of short digits, 14% approval?

Even at their lowest, Nixon and George W. Bush got 29%.

Lesson for Republicans who appear on these Sunday morning shows: Come prepared, say what you want to day, and don't let them set the agenda.



Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

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  1. What a schmuck! And what puerile questions and arguments. The only thing I am getting out of these clowns is an improved vocabulary. - Elric

  2. Well Don, either. Mr. Todd has a bit of integrity, or Mrs. Conway did tame him a bit. He went after MR. Schumer.


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The way she takes over control of their shows, you almost expect to see her stroking a Cornish Rex cat, and to hear the Dr Evil musical intro.

  5. "...say what you want to day..."?
    I think you meant "... say what you want to say..."

  6. Todd and CNN, and other FakeNews outlets, are behaving like junior high students on the playground. Todd is not in the same league as Conway.

  7. Kelly Conway, teaching the media how it's gonna be
    (big, BIG, smile here).

  8. If she ever wants to be President, the media will be running for cover.

  9. If Kellyanne Conway were a Dimocrat, the Fake News Media would be praising her to the skies. She is the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign. Talk about breaking through a glass ceiling. The lady is sharp and unlike Dimocrat shrews, she's easy on the eyes. She used to appear on Bill Maher's first show, Politically Incorrect and she would be the only conservative, outnumbered three to one by the liberals and she would take the liberals to the cleaners. She is good!

  10. Whatever she's getting paid, can someone please at least double it. As the saying goes in Indiana "She's as strong as a garlic malt."

  11. I don't know (nor do I care) how many attended Trump's inauguration. But I can tell you exactly how many people attended Hillary's inauguration. And that's the only number that matters.

    1. THAT is brilliant. May I use it?

  12. Loved this article but have come to expect this from you.