PETE WILLIAMS: I'm Pete Williams, in for Gwen Ifill, and this is the Washington Week
Hillary Clinton wasn't the only woman to make history on Election Day.
Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was the first female presidential
campaign manager in American history.
So, Jennifer, she was actually his third
choice for the job, but what was the secret to her success?
JENNIFER JACOBS: Well, she came in late.
She came in in mid-August, so she was only campaign manager for two-and-a-half months.
And you know, the original team had put in place the structure that actually was the one
consistent strategy that was in place from the very beginning to the very end, and that
was those made-for-TV rallies that were the vehicle for Donald Trump's message and really
got - it got him elected and created that electricity that, you know, got people to, you
know, come to his rallies and go vote.
But she actually - you know, she gets a lot of
credit for doing one thing, which was figuring out how to manage Donald Trump.
And the way she did it was by not necessarily just talking to him in person, but she
would talk to him through the TV screen.
So she would go and do these news interviews and then she would, you know, make these
little subtle hints, you know, suggesting things, or saying I think we should do this, or
he doesn't, you know, personally insult people.
And so she would like send him these
little subtle messages via TV, and she acknowledged as much, that she very often did that.
But, you know, one interesting thing is, you know, here she is - the first female, you
know, to do this - but she gets points for defeating the first - the woman who would have
been the first female president.
PETE WILLIAMS: So there's no question in your minds that she made a difference.
LISA LERER: Kellyanne Conway?
PETE WILLIAMS: Yes, yes.
LISA LERER: I suppose.
I mean, she is campaign manager.
But, as you point out, she was the third campaign manager, and she came in in August.
And, you know, he rode - he was riding a wave, and it's hard to know how much any
individual - an election like this, where the results were so shocking and it was such a
change race, I think it's hard to know how much one person made a difference.
JENNIFER JACOBS: She kept it from blowing up right at the end.
LISA LERER: Yeah, but she wasn't setting strategy, perhaps.
I don't know.
I mean, I think it's hard to say.
DAN BALZ: But the - but the trio that came in - Steve Bannon and Dave Bossie and
Kellyanne Conway - worked better than previous iterations of his team.
And they each found a role, and hers was - as you say, she did a lot on TV, both to
explain Donald Trump and to defend Donald Trump, and to send signals to Donald Trump, and
also to try to settle him down.
And I think that, as a group, they were successful in both keeping the energy level high
in that campaign - I mean, they were racing at the end and, you know, they were very
opportunistic, and effectively so.
And so they all, together, were instrumental in that.
PETE WILLIAMS: Well, now, of course, the speculation is all about who he will enlist for
That even began before the last ballots were counted.
So tell us,
Michael: Who are the leading contenders for some of the big national security positions?
MICHAEL CROWLEY: So, Pete, I'll start with the disclaimer that, you know, a lot of this
is sort of chatter around Washington.
You don't know exactly where it came from, then
there's an echo chamber effect, so names are in serious contention because people - so -
PETE WILLIAMS: All right, we won't hold you to this.
We won't be playing your sound from the Washington Week vault.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: (Laughs.)
Having said that, on secretary of state, I think
there are some pretty logical contenders and a couple of people who have said they might
be interested in the job.
One of them is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Bob Corker, Tennessee senator, who said earlier this summer he would be interested in the
He has advised Trump on foreign policy, considered a pretty serious and credible
Some people have said Newt Gingrich, who we remember as speaker of the House having
largely a domestic agenda, but actually has taken a great interest in foreign policy and
A name you hear - Donald Trump himself has praised John Bolton, who was
George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, although Bolton is quite a divisive
figure even by the standards of Trump world, and I think that would be a difficult sell.
He, I think, was unable to get confirmed by a Republican Senate at one point, and I think
with Democrats still having filibuster numbers he would be a tough one.
Attorney General, Rudy Giuliani makes a lot of sense and was asked about his appetite
for that job on television a couple days ago.
And as we all know, the Washington custom is to say I'm not even thinking about that, oh
I don't know, and Rudy's answer - I can't quote it verbatim - was more or less like,
sure, yeah, that sounds pretty good.
PETE WILLIAMS: Who knows the Justice Department better than me?
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Exactly.
Chris Christie might make sense, but for Bridgegate.
that makes it complicated.
But he was a federal prosecutor, so let's keep that in mind.
Defense secretary, just this evening there was a report somebody is floating Kelly
Ayotte, the outgoing defeated New Hampshire Republican senator who was sort of friends
with John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
They kind of co-signed a lot of tough, hawkish national security press releases, took a
lot of interest in foreign policy and defense issues, had kind of a hawkish posture.
It would be kind of an interesting answer to the presumed defense secretary Hillary
Clinton everyone expected to name, Michele Flournoy, the first female defense secretary.
This would be a potential retort to that.
Another name that we're hearing is
Stephen Hadley, who was George W. Bush's last national security advisor, real kind of
gold-plated establishment basically centrist figure - center-right, but somebody that
Democrats could get along with.
I heard people saying Hadley could even have served
in a Hillary Clinton administration.
And am I forgetting a slot?
That's a lot of ground to cover.
LISA LERER: Well, don't forget Jeff Sessions.
DAN BALZ: Jeff Sessions.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Sorry.
PETE WILLIAMS: National security advisor?
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Jeff Sessions is a possibility, a senator who provided Trump with a lot
of advice, although does not have a deep background on foreign policy and foreign
And national security advisor is a really important one.
And by the way, with all of these appointments - you know, you asked me during the show
what will Trump's foreign policy look like.
The personnel will really send big messages
about how serious he is about some of these things.
National security advisor will be a
One name we hear is Michael Flynn, who was the former Defense Intelligence Agency
director who advised Trump through the campaign, was potentially a running mate for him.
Flynn has a lot of detractors, I think, even within the Republican Party.
I think there are a lot of Republicans hoping he doesn't pick Flynn.
I think Steve Hadley would be another potential candidate for that job, but Hadley -
PETE WILLIAMS: Did it before.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Has done it before, so he may feel like he's been there and done that.
PETE WILLIAMS: All right.
Speaking of other candidates for other positions, in the
wake of Hillary Clinton's loss the Democrats find themselves in a tug of war between
the progressives and the so-called establishment wings of the party, and there's also
jockeying for the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
So, Lisa, who are some prospects for that?
LISA LERER: Well, so this happened pretty quickly that we've started to get names out
there for the head of the DNC.
This is, of course, the only post, really, Democrats
have left in town, having lost Congress and the White House.
So Martin O'Malley seems like he's - he's claiming people are asking him to throw his
hat in the ring, which means that he's of course throwing his hat in the ring.
Howard Dean, who ran to John Kerry's left in '04 and ran the DNC from 2005 to 2009, was
mounting a bid.
It looks like Keith Ellison, the congressman from Minnesota, is going
to jump in there.
He's a - he was a Bernie Sanders supporter.
He's a liberal guy.
He's also Muslim, so that would be a pretty interesting choice for the DNC for the party.
So, you know, this is really a fight over where the Democrats want to go and what they
see as their mistakes - how they evaluate their mistakes in this past election, and so
we'll see this play out over the next couple weeks.
So we don't expect any kind of an election for the DNC chair to happen until early 2017,
so there's certainly more time as Democrats emerge from their shellshock of this week for
people to sort of - this evaluation process to happen and the soul-searching to go on,
and for people to throw their hats in the ring.
PETE WILLIAMS: All right, Dan, this last one's for you.
So we're going to end tonight
with a clip from the Washington Week vault about another historic presidential election.
Moderator Paul Duke introduced the segment by saying this: "The country has voted for
change, and the capital prepares for the first Baby Boomer administration.
Voters were dissatisfied with the status quo and looking for change, and they got it."
HAYNES JOHNSON: (From video.)
The striking thing about this election: from the
beginning, everybody you met really did want a change in the beginning.
They felt that
there was something desperately wrong in the country, like something had been broken.
It wasn't just the economy in the usual sense, about the economic restructuring, jobs
That was there, but it was the feeling that America itself was in deep
Something was larger than politics.
It had nothing to do with Republicans,
Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Northern or Southern.
They really did want a change.
The second element in the election was the fact that, when they started this year, they
were so cynical about the process that they didn't believe it might happen.
PETE WILLIAMS: So that clip is from November 1992.
So, Dan, what strikes you about that?
DAN BALZ: Haynes Johnson was a very smart analyst, I would say - (laughter) - of what -
of what went on in that campaign.
I mean, he's absolutely right about that campaign.
I think what's different from that one to this one is, in a sense, the order of
magnitude of the shock of what happened.
I mean, by the end of that campaign, it was
clear Bill Clinton was going to be the new president and George H.W.
Bush was going to
be driven out of the White House.
But this one had much more of a sense of a populist
revolt and a question about what it really means for Washington.
I mean, Bill Clinton did a brilliant job of redefining the Democratic Party in that 1992
campaign to make the party acceptable to voters who had abandoned them during the Reagan
But what we've got this time is - and he was - he was very well-connected.
I mean, he was connected everywhere.
You've got Donald Trump, who is a true outsider.
Bill Clinton was a governor of Arkansas, but in many ways he had kind of an insider
It's totally different with Donald Trump.
And I think that makes the question of what happens now much, much different.
PETE WILLIAMS: All right, thank you.
Thank you all very much.
And you can see that entire clip, by the way, from the 1992 election on the website.
And while you're there, take the Washington Week-ly News Quiz to test your knowledge.
I'm Pete Williams.
See you on the next edition of the Washington Week Extra.