Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is taking a victory lap on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this morning claiming that Trump won the debate essentially by not setting his podium on fire. Conway reasoned that Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton didn't actually win if you ignore all traditional measures of previous debates.
"As we said before, you judged this by all past debate standards, Hillary Clinton won, and most of us around here believe that," co-host Joe Scarborough determined. "But you don't judge Donald Trump by those standards, do you think he connected with the base or found new voters?" he asked Conway, urging her to declare Trump the winner if you don't take any other debate in history into consideration.
Conway noted that the campaign is hearing a lot of support from people overseas that have left the United States to live abroad.
"I also feel that there was no knockout punch by Hillary Clinton. As much as her ability to tell us all everything she learned in preparation for Donald Trump," Conway began, making it seem like Clinton's 30-plus years of experience was all in preparation for Trump. "She really needed to force him to make a huge mistake that would be the headline this morning, and she did not. I felt sometimes, the camera, she was speaking and she looked a little glib, almost like why am I on the stage with this man."
Panelist Steve Schmidt didn't quite see it that way, claiming Sarah Palin "looked like Henry Kissinger" compared to how Trump appeared when it came to national security issues last night.
Conway did note that Trump told the audience that he could have taken the low road and attacked Clinton on "something" but decided not to because the Clintons' daughter was in the audience. Pundits discussed the bizarre assertion last night assuming the comment was attacking Clinton for her husband's infidelity, something most strategists have cautioned against.
"I have to say, certainly as a woman, I appreciated the restraint at the end, and I am not sure I would have been able to exercise it myself," Conway said. "To tell Hillary Clinton after she accused him about women, and I was prepared to go rough tonight and I am not going to do it because of your husband and daughter are here, and that's a great temperament."
It could be argued, however, that bringing it up at all displays improper temperament. Instead, this morning the campaign is pushing the narrative that Trump somehow deserves a gold star for not attacking Clinton for her husband's infidelity and for that alone he deserves to be president.
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