WASHINGTON -- Maybe you've seen Kellyanne Conway talking about her boss, President Donald Trump, on TV. Maybe you like her fleetness of mind; she gave us, after all, the phrase "alternative facts."
Maybe you don't like her at all, if you agree with "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who say the counselor to the president just makes stuff up. "Morning Joe," on MSNBC, won't let Conway back on.
But here's a side of Conway people seldom see: giving advice (when asked), describing "conservative feminism" and talking work-life balance (women have to put themselves last, she said). These all came up Thursday morning when she had a sit-down conversation in front of a friendly audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which this year happens to be one of the hottest tickets around Washington.
Conway spoke with Mercedes Schlapp, a columnist and TV commentator.
Conway's advice for college students surviving at liberal institutions:
"First of all, don't live online, live in real time. I'm just astonished how many people live online.
"On Facebook, Twitter, texting, e-mails. Remember, it's a mode of communication, it is not communication. It's not real life. So step aside, make sure people see something other than the top of your head and live in real time, in the real world.
"Have a conversation with people, engage other folks. There are so many people who are out there, who agree with you, or don't realize that they agree with you or want to learn more about repealing, replacing Obamacare or for what it means to have school choice and charter schools, etc. So engage in those conversations.
"Also, know who you are and possess that confidence and just tune out the naysayers and the critics in a way where you feel like you possess a certain patience and perspective that many of us in the bubble lack."
Conway's advice for dealing with rejection:
"You will be rejected. Somebody else will get the job you wanted or someone else will be the president of the club that you felt you deserved to be. But don't say the word 'no.'
"Opportunity does not always knock twice. You have to make some of your own opportunities and you have to go in and grab those."
Conway's advice for what some people call conservative feminists:
"Well, I believe this generation, particularly the younger people don't really like labels. And we're not necessarily joiners or liking to label ourselves. And that's great in its own right.
"So I don't know about calling yourself a feminist. Also, for me, its difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion in this context. And I'm neither anti-male or pro- abortion, so.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Feminism in the 'classic sense' seems 'anti-male' and 'very pro-abortion https://t.co/h7O7G7uNQ2 pic.twitter.com/LvnHupOrPE-- Sharon Perry (@perry_sharon_) February 23, 2017
"There's an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices. Mercedes, I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances. And that's really clearly what conservatives, feminism, if you will, is all about.
"And I believe those are timeless lessons and timeless opportunities for all women in similar circumstances and situations."
Conway's advice for electing the first female president:
"I would tell my three daughters and your daughters, or you, that the job for first female president of the United States remains open, so go for it."
.@KellyannePolls reminded her daughters at #CPAC2017 that the role for first female president is still open. pic.twitter.com/eWdwyvjp3b-- GOP (@GOP) February 23, 2017
Conway's advice on gender and work-life balance:
"Hillary Clinton should be applauded for her willingness to serve publicly, but I thought it was very telling this year, Mercedes, that many women looked past the commonality of gender and were looking for what they shared in terms of issues, ideology, vision and just what they want out of their futures for themselves.
"The work-life balance that we all talk about is not elusive to me. And I don't have any special advice for America's women, except to know who you are and to put your priorities in order and to not worry about the naysayers and critics say. I mean, nobody understands your life, but you. And really struggling as to whether or not to go inside the White House or to stay out. My children were first and foremost part of that decision. They are 12, 12, 8 and 7, four terrible ages.
"I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances." -@Kellyannepolls https://t.co/1j7uU1xvOh pic.twitter.com/vqMr8Ueuhr-- Refined Right (@refinedright) February 23, 2017
"But what I decided ultimately is that I work for a man in the White House where that work-life balance is welcome. I do think that many of my male colleagues, or all of them, appreciate the fact that they were raised by moms who either worked or didn't, or worked inside the home or are married to women at the same ilk. But at the same time, it is different a set of considerations for women, and you have to -- you have to put yourself last."
Conway's advice on how much to get paid:
She told the story of how, when she was 28, she was called and asked to speak at an event with Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster. She accepted, and then was asked what her fee would be.
"And I froze because I knew no matter what I said in return to the question of 'What is your speaking fee, what are you worth, what is your value to do this,' no matter what I said, I was going to undercut myself. I was going to be that self-denying girl who grew up in that house of all women, a giver not a taker, and so I froze and I thought, my God, what am I going to say? It's not his fault if I undercut my value. So, having no idea how to assess my value for that particular speech, I took a line out of 'When Harry Met Sally' and I said, 'I'll have what's he's having.'
"He said, 'Excuse me?' And I said, 'Well, you said Mark Mellman and I were going to do the same thing, show up at the same time, give the same remarks, so I'll have what he's having.'" (She added that this was in 1996 and she had never been paid for a speech before.)
"He said, 'Well, Mark requested $3,500.' And I said, 'That'll be fine.'
"And I hung up the phone and I fell to the floor. I was so excited. So, when in doubt, just say 'I'll have what he's having.'"
.@KellyannePolls has exited stage right! #CPAC2017 pic.twitter.com/Jg4zJiLP7E-- CPAC 2017 (@CPAC) February 23, 2017
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