New Campaign Manager Says Trump’s Underdog Status Helps Him

Kellyanne Conway, new campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager gave her first interview on CNN’s “New Day” and stressed the positives to being an underdog following reports of declining poll numbers for the Trump campaign. 

“I think it helps us to be a little bit behind, and we are. It lights a fire under us and reminds us what we need to do to get this done,” Kellyanne Conway said during a two-part interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

“We feel when it comes to the issues, we’ve really never had such a contrast election. My goal as campaign manager for Donald Trump is to win the argument. You have to win the argument every day. Emphasize, focus, reiterate,” she said.

She added that this week the campaign will be putting out its first two television advertisements since the general election and that debate preparations will start in the upcoming weekend.

Conway filled the vacant position on Aug. 17 which was previously held by newly-hired CNN political commentator Corey Lewandowski.

“I think we’re going to sharpen the message. We’re going to make sure Donald Trump is comfortable about being in his own skin—that he doesn’t lose that authenticity that you simply can’t buy and a pollster can’t give you. Voters know if you’re comfortable in your own skin,” she said.

“Let him be him, in this sense,” Conway continued.

The veteran pollster said the campaign is planning on having Trump give more speeches like the one he did earlier in the week on the threat of terror and foreign policy in Youngstown, Ohio.

“He’s going to give these policy speeches,” she said. “You’ll see more of those. Next week is immigration week, followed by education week,” she said. 

Conway’s promotion was announced alongside the hiring of Breitbart executive Steven K. Bannon, who she said will work on the big-picture strategy for the campaign. 

“I’m extremely comfortable with Steve Bannon in the campaign. I thought it was a masterful choice,” Conway said. “I’m a huge proponent in the ground game, in building a campaign from the bottom up. Steve also, he’s a big strategic thinker.”

The newly minted campaign manager has been one of Trump’s most visible surrogates on Fox News, Fox Business, and CNN. Before Trump solidified the nomination, she worked for a pro-Ted Cruz Super Pac, and before that, she worked for polling firms connected to President Ronald Reagan, Congressman Jack Kemp, and former Vice President Dan Quayle.  

“Kellyanne is a tremendous asset to our rapidly expanding campaign team. She is a data and messaging expert and terrific on TV. It is great to have her on board,” Trump said in a statement outlining Conway’s role in the campaign.

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