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Sunday, April 10, 2016

CHUCK TODD interview #Trump's new convention manager, Paul Manafort a one-time delegate wrangler for President Gerald Ford, and campaign manager for Bob Dole

CHUCK TODD: And joining me now is Donald Trump's new convention manager, Paul Manafort a one-time delegate wrangler for President Gerald Ford, and campaign manager for Bob Dole, who's been brought into this campaign to stop this delegate bleeding. Mr. Manafort, welcome back to Meet the Press. 
PAUL MANAFORT: Thank you.

CHUCK TODD: Let me start with what a Cruz official claimed to me this weekend, that there were 144 different delegate-selection events yesterday in 11 states. And they were stunned that essentially outside of Michigan, the Trump campaign was nowhere. Is that a fair assessment?
PAUL MANAFORT:
Not at all. First of all, Alabama, they caucused at this weekend, and we got on the committee spots, the convention committee spots have been assigned. In Michigan, as he correctly said, where they made a real effort, they failed. And in fact, we wiped him out. He's got no committee appointments out of Michigan.
And in Nevada, preview of coming attractions, Clark County went overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, and they have the majority of the delegates for the state convention later in this process. And we're going to see Ted Cruz get skunked in Nevada.
CHUCK TODD:
But you acknowledge that they've been outgunning the Trump campaign on these weekend events?
PAUL MANAFORT:
I acknowledge that we weren't playing in Colorado and they did. I acknowledge that they've taken an approach to some of the county conventions where they've taken a scorched-earth policy and they don't care about the party. If they don't get what they want, they blow it up. That's not going to work.
And in fact, it's all secondary games, because when you're talking about delegates, you have to distinguish between actual delegates or Trojan delegates, which are people that are committed to support someone on the first ballot, regardless of who they're for.
CHUCK TODD:
And, you know, you have been very outspoken in saying, "Look, what Cruz is doing is going to be moot because you guys are going to win this on the first ballot." In fact, you claim you will clinch this nomination by midMay, that you won't need California to put your over the top. How do you do that? That's something--
PAUL MANAFORT:
No, I didn't say we'd clinch it. I said we could be the presumptive nominee.
CHUCK TODD:
Which means you would have the numbers.
PAUL MANAFORT:
That means you'd see the path.
CHUCK TODD:
Okay, you won't be crossing the line.
PAUL MANAFORT:
No, we've got to go through to June. We've got to wait till the process is done. But I'm confident, we have several ways through June 7th to go over 1,237. And, you know, not counted in that at all are any of these unbound delegates who are getting selected, many of whom I feel pretty good about.
CHUCK TODD:
Now, look, there's been some talk about what's going on inside the campaign. Are you running this campaign now? Is that the fairest way to look at it?
PAUL MANAFORT:
Donald Trump is running this campaign. And I'm working directly for Donald Trump, but I'm working with the whole team as well. And a lot of what's being talked about is much ado about nothing. Yes, there's a transition, it's a natural transition.
Trump was doing very well on a model that made sense, but now, as the campaign has gotten to the end stages, a more traditional campaign has to take place. And Trump recognized that and is now reaching out not just with me, but with others as well that you'll start to see come in.
CHUCK TODD:
Now, Donald Trump has hired you because he says he needs an insider to help him who's experienced in this. But some could argue, it's been a long time since you've been a Washington insider. You yourself have said that. Do you know these delegates? The selection process may be the same from '96 or '76. Do you know these people? Some people say no.
PAUL MANAFORT:
You'd be surprised who's been calling me over the last week and where they're from. And do I know the 25, 30-year-old delegates? No. Do I know the people who push buttons in a lot of these states? Yes. But that's not even the point. There's a lot of residual support for Donald Trump out there that just hasn't been tapped. Whether it's me or somebody else, it's the process that matters. If you know how to use the process, the support is there.
CHUCK TODD:
I want to talk about some of the methods you're going to use to try to cajole these delegates. Let me play something your former business partner, Roger Stone, said. Get you to react to it.
(BEGIN TAPE)
ROGER STONE:
We're going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in this deal.
(END TAPE)
CHUCK TODD:
Appropriate rhetoric?
PAUL MANAFORT:
I'm not giving him my hotel room.
CHUCK TODD:
Okay. Though, do you sort of--
PAUL MANAFORT:
Roger is not an official part of the campaign.
CHUCK TODD:
Did he bring you in?
PAUL MANAFORT:
No.
CHUCK TODD:
Okay.
PAUL MANAFORT:
In fact, not at all. I came in a totally different way. I've known Trump for 30 years. And so when somebody started talking about the need to bring in additional people to deal with this process, friends of his who were not at all from the political realm even, he listened and then he reached out.
CHUCK TODD:
What is fair game to win a delegate? Is threatening a fair game? Is threats a fair game?
PAUL MANAFORT:
It's not my style, and it's not Donald Trump's style.
CHUCK TODD:
What is --
PAUL MANAFORT:
But it is Ted Cruz's style. And that's going to wear thin very fast.
CHUCK TODD:
Do you think he's threatening delegates?
PAUL MANAFORT:
Well, he's threatening, you go to these county conventions, and you see the tactics, Gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics--
CHUCK TODD:
Gestapo tactics? That's a strong word.
PAUL MANAFORT:
Well, you look at, we're going to be filing several protests because reality is, you know, they are not playing by the rules. But frankly, that's the side game. Because the only game I'm focusing on right now is getting delegates. And the games that have happened, even this past weekend, you know, are not important to the long-term game of how do we get to 1,237.
CHUCK TODD:
But is he, I guess what is fair game and getting a delegate? Is paying for their convention costs, is it-- golf club memberships? What's fair and unfair in this? What's ethical, what's unethical?
PAUL MANAFORT:
Well, there's the law, and then there's ethics, and then there's getting votes. I'm not going to get into what tactics are used. I happen to think the best way we're going to get delegates is to have Donald Trump be exposed to delegates, let the delegates hear what he says. He's done very well so far in putting himself in position by virtue of communicating.
You know, the key I think for delegates coming up, especially the unbound delegates, is the electability question. And right now, we're in a fight, and this fight is, you know, causes for negative for all the candidates. But there's no question in my mind, there's not one state you can look at that Romney won or lost in 2012 that Cruz can win. Not one. But Trump changes the whole map. As we get into those arguments, which is the endgame of the endgame, that persuasion starts to have an impact.
CHUCK TODD:
You have some controversial clients in your past, some current, some in the past. Has Mr. Trump asked you to stop working for certain clients, stop doing work in Ukraine if it's against America's national security?
PAUL MANAFORT:
Well, the work I was doing in Ukraine was to help Ukraine get into Europe, and we succeeded. But I'm not working for any clients right now other than Mr. Trump.
CHUCK TODD:
And are you going to make a promise in the future that if he's president, you'll be careful what clients you take?
PAUL MANAFORT:
I'm always careful what clients I take.
CHUCK TODD:
All right. I'll leave it there. Paul Manafort, new convention manager, thanks for coming on.
PAUL MANAFORT:
Thank you.
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