McConnell: Cash on Hand, 'Prepared Script' Important for Any Candidate

By Susan Jones | June 27, 2016 | 6:31am EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)

( - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says "there's no question" that Republican Donald Trump has "made a number of mistakes," but McConnell also believes Trump is "beginning to right the ship."

"And I think a good step in the right direction was the changes he made in the campaign. He's beginning to use a prepared script more often, which I think is absolutely appropriate for any candidate, whether you're a long-time politician like Hillary Clinton or whether you're new to the game like Donald Trump," McConnell told ABC's "This Week."

Republican Donald Trump refused to use a prepared script in the primary race, which he won -- as McConnell himself noted on Sunday -- with "more votes than anybody else against a whole lot of well-qualified candidates."

Later in the interview, host George Stephanolpoulos asked McConnell about his new memoir.

"In your book, you -- you also write, I think it's on page 177, that the three most important words in politics are 'cash on hand.' You've learned that lesson over the course of your career running for the Senate."

"Yes," McConnell replied.

"You always had a lot of cash at hand, a lot more than the $1.2 million that Donald Trump showed this week," Stephanopoulos continued. "The super PACs aligned with Hillary Clinton have about $120 million. Those aligned with Donald Trump have about $2 million. Can he win with that kind of a money deficit?"

"No, but I hope he won't have that kind of money deficit come fall," McConnell said. "There's a lot of work to be done to turn the campaign in a different direction. And one of those obvious flaws at the moment is cash on hand. He needs to catch up, and catch up fast."

McConnell said it doesn't matter where the money comes from -- whether Trump writes a check to his own campaign or raises the cash elsewhere -- "but he's going to have to have way more than he has now in order to run the kind of campaign he needs to win."

The question of money also came up on "Fox News Sunday," when host Chris Wallace asked Republican Newt Gingrich about the contrast between Clinton's cash-rich campaign and Trump's cash-poor operation:

"Both campaigns filed reports this week on where they stand, and the contrast was shocking," Wallace said. "As of June 1st, Trump had $1.3 million cash on hand and 69 on the payroll. Clinton had $42.5 million and 685 staffers. Mr. Speaker, you can't run a national campaign with that kind of staff and money that Trump has."

"And they know that, and they are staffing up," Gingrich responded. He noted that the Trump campaign is in the process of adding more people.

"But the thing that's funny about all this, we could have had that exact chart on January 1st about Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. Jeb had a bigger operation. He had a heck of a lot more money. He was going to buy a whole lot more TV ads, and he disappeared.

"You just watched Turnberry, Scotland, and once again, Trump got, what, 40 minutes of free television time. So, you have to add in earned media value plus the campaign," Gingrich said.

"He (Trump) just paid off $50 million in campaign debt by writing a check. I mean, Hillary could probably afford to do that. But I don't have any hunch Hillary will give up any of her personal money when Wall Street is willing to fund her."

Meanwhile, over on CNN's "State of the Union," Democrat Bernie Sanders three times stressed the importance of taking on Wall Street and "the big money interests."

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