NBC NEWS: Former Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and former Clinton Chief Strategist Joel Benenson discuss the final weeks of the campaign, but disagree on the cause of Trump's victory.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Well, Kellyanne Conway and Joel Benenson join me now. We'll see if there's any yelling. They've both promised there won't be. But let me ask you both this, different versions of the same question. And Joel, I'll start with you. Are you being sore losers?
JOEL BENENSON, FMR. CLINTON STRATEGIST: No, I don't think we're being sore losers. I think we've acknowledged and I acknowledged in that exchange with Kellyanne right from the start that they won, he's President-elect. But I was also saying, taking issue with the notion that there was a mandate and that when you talk about connecting with people over America, Hillary Clinton had 2.5 million more Americans vote for her than Donald Trump.
I'm aware of the currency of presidential elections, the electoral college. I've been on three winning presidential campaigns. But a mandate is when you win big in the popular vote, when you win big in the electoral college vote, like President Obama did two times. I don't recall Kellyanne, she may say so today, that President Obama had a mandate or any Republican saying he had a mandate.
CHUCK TODD: Kellyanne, are you being a sore winner? You've done this a few times, your own Twitter, I think, bio now just simply says, "We won." It's like a drop the mic.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, FMR. TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Chuck, first of all, I showed great respect and grace to my colleagues from across the table for over two hours before this exchange happened. But the fact is that we are the ones who understood America. And the idea that we're going to talk about the popular vote I think answers your question about sore losers. The idea that Donald Trump doesn't have a mandate, after he got 100 more electoral votes than Mitt Romney did, he got 306 electoral votes, it wasn't close, he won states that had not gone Republican in decades.
And by the way, had this been a race for the popular vote, we would have won that too, because Mr. Trump would have campaigned in California, in New York, stayed in Florida, gone to Illinois, perhaps. These population-rich states. We did what we were supposed to do to become president, A) go and campaign in those states that was so-called "swing states," "battleground states," B) actually have an economic message that appealed to workers across the country, actually talk about patriotism, defeating radical Islam and terrorism, repealing, replacing Obamacare.
People open up their mailboxes and fire up their computers and see these premium increases. But, you know, the idea that he doesn't have a mandate, when on President Obama's watch they now lost the White House, 60 seats in the House, over a dozen Senate seats, over a dozen governorships, and over 1,000 state legislative seats, this Democratic party is having an identity crisis in a circular firing squad, and what I heard at Harvard is the same thing I hear all the time, "It's Jim Comey's fault, it's Bernie Sanders' fault."
CHUCK TODD: Okay, but Kellyanne--
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Anybody but Hillary Clinton's fault.
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you this though. A lot of people look at what you've said and what others have said, including the President-elect at his rally in Cincinnati and say, "But team Trump, they can't seem to accept winning," that they haven't been gracious in victory. What do you say to that?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, you know what, I'm going to hit back on that. I'm an incredibly gracious, humble person. And let me tell you something, every single media outlet, including this one, on good days ignored us, on regular days mocked us. And that included when I told you and your colleagues, "There is an undercover, undercounted Trump vote." "No there's not, maybe it's undercounted for Hillary," people said.
These rally sizes matter because it portends the enthusiasm and momentum that is owned by Donald Trump. We're the ones with the message. We're the ones turning these counties around that President Obama carried twice over 50 percent of the vote. We've switched 200 counties and we did that with messages that mattered to people. And he's the guy who talked about veterans, talked about defeating terrorism.
I mean, you know, we were mocked and ignored. Go back and look at the headlines two weeks out everywhere. And the talk on networks like this. We were completely dismissed. Secretary Clinton wasn't even mentioning Donald Trump's name most of the time.