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Trump, Clinton Teams Swap Barbs at Harvard Post-Mortem

Trump, Clinton Teams Swap Barbs at Harvard Post-Mortem

Competing campaign managers Kellyanne Conway and Robby Mook broke down the 2016 election cycle Thursday at Harvard. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Thursday, 01 December 2016 10:25 PM

The contentious fight for the White House is over for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – but their top strategists are still battling.

In a campaign post-mortem at Harvard University, featuring both candidates' team of strategists Thursday, bitterness and tensions were on full display, according to Politico.

"We're not at a Trump rally, Corey," Clinton chief strategist Joel Benenson snapped at Trump's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

At a later point, Trump's last campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, cautioned her fellow strategists: "Hey guys, we won, we don't have to respond."

They did anyway.

When Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie called Trump's campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, "an unbelievably brilliant strategist," Clinton's communications director Jennifer Palmieri piped in: "If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have lost."

"I would rather lose than win the way the guys you did," she said.

"Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?" Conway asked. "You're going to look me in the face and tell me that?"

"I did, Kellyanne," Palmieri answered. "I did."

"Do you think you could have just had a decent message for the white working-class voters?" Conway countered. "You guys are bitter."

According to Politico, some other of the strategists' observations included:

  • Trump's team called the summer tarmac meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton a "defining moment" amid the FBI investigation into her email server "that . . . just played right into the hands of those Americans who felt there was a culture of corruption," Bossie said.
  • Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook identified the WikiLeaks releases of campaign chairman John Podesta's emails and FBI Director James Comey's letters as sucker punches.
  • "No one of those emails that was put out, no one day of that, was a game-changer in the race; however, it was a low-grade fever throughout, and that was an enormous strategic disadvantage," he said. "If you ask me what was the single greatest headwind we had in the race, it was the two letters from James Comey."
  • "We probably would've won," Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver said.

The raucous post-mortem came to a bitter end when Clinton media strategist Mandy Grunwald sniped at Trump's team: "I don't think you give yourselves enough credit for the negative campaign you ran," saying they had executed a "very impressive gassing of her" by using unreported Facebook ads, fake news and the National Enquirer.

When Conway retorted Trump had closed the race on a positive note, Grunwald said: "Take the compliment, Kellyanne."

"I would, if it were one," Conway replied.

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In a campaign post-mortem at Harvard University, featuring both presidential candidates' team of strategists Thursday at Harvard University, bitterness and tensions were on full display, according to Politico.
presidential, campaign, strategists, pollsters, Harvard
Thursday, 01 December 2016 10:25 PM
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