Day One of Surrogate School


“Good Morning my name is James and I’ll be giving the Overview for what you’ll be learning here today in Surrogate School. At the end of the course, you’ll be prepared to go on television shows on behalf of your respective candidates to help present their views and respond to questions regarding their vision. The first portion of your day will be generic and after lunch, you’ll break up into groups so you can get Party specific instructions as to how to handle tough questions by responding with your message no matter what you were asked. At the end of the day, we’ll have role play sessions where you will interact with our instructors where we demonstrate the ‘7 Strategies for Surrogates’ which is the basis for our curriculum and in your handouts. Please read them to yourselves.”

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  1. Establish Your Credentials
  2. Smile (You’re The Good Guy)
  3. Acknowledge the Question Asked, Then Answer the One You Wish They Had
  4. Never Let Your Opponent Get On a Roll (Interrupt, Interrupt, Interrupt)
  5. Target 3 Negatives About Your Opponent And Constantly Repeat Them
  6. Sometimes, YOU Have To Take The Hit
  7. End By Smiling And Saying, “Thank You” To Your Host. Act Like You Won!

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“I’ve given you a chance to read the 7 Strategies, I’ll take a few questions about each strategy which I believe will help you all get a better understanding. I have a microphone I’ll pass around. If you have a question, raise your hand and when the microphone comes to you. State your first name and ask your question. Who has a question about “Establish Your Credentials?”


“My name is Mike, and I’m not sure I have any credentials?”

“Mike. Most of our attendees have credentials they may not be aware of. Are you a Democrat or a Republican?”


“Would you consider yourself more aligned with the Republican Establishment, Tea Party or Trump Supporters?”

“I don’t know, I’m not really a Trump supporter.”

“Who did you vote for in the Republican Primary?”

“I voted for Marco Rubio.”

“Do you consider yourself a leader,a big thinker?”

“Yes… Sure!”

“Mike you can market yourself as a former Rubio strategist and leader in the Tea Party Movement. There are enough Tea Party groups so that nobody can challenge you. Something we’ll go over later for anyone wanting to burnish your credentials is that you can join one of our think tanks as either an Associate or Vice-President depending on your level of contribution. My point is that all of you have credentials because of your life experience that we will help you identify and highlight so that you will be solicited to give your expert opinion on cable shows.”


“I’m Vicki, You say smile… I don’t always feel like smiling because I’m mad about what I see happening in our country I think a little anger is appropriate sometimes!”

“Vicki the advice we give here is about how to best reflect positively for your candidate. Studies have shown that angry faces turn off undecided voters so a smile will go a long way in having your message heard.”

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“My name’s Anthony, are you saying we’re not supposed to answer direct questions?”

“I’m going to answer your question by showing you how we shift to answering what you’re prepared to talk about. You can’t really be expected to be prepared to answer questions about every aspect of the campaign so limit your answers to your area of expertise and you can bolster your believability. This is how I would respond to your question. Thank you Anthony,  that’s an outstanding question. We make it a point to answer direct questions, unlike Hillary Clinton who hasn’t held a press conference in almost 30 days or like Donald Trump who won’t show us his tax returns. You acknowledge the question, even appreciate it, before going on and making the point you wanted to make.”


“Hi I’m Jessica, I’m not comfortable always interrupting someone. That’s not polite?”

“You’re right Jessica! Interrupting is impolite and downright rude. You have to remember though the overall mission which is to aid your candidate. Sometimes, the information being delivered by your opponent will be damaging to your candidate so you have to use any means necessary to disrupt them, get them off topic, talk over them so that they are unable to make their point. You have to get past the presumption that you’re there to win an argument. That’s great when you can but your main goal is never to lose an argument. That’s how you serve your candidate!”


“I’m Rodney, you say sometimes I have to take the hit. What’s that about?”

“Rodney have you ever seen the movie, ‘Pulp Fiction’?”


“Think of the scene where Ving Rhames tells Bruce Willis he wants him to take a dive in a fight. He tells him that thing your feeling is pride. Sometimes you have to give up your pride to be a truly great surrogate. I’ve got two examples for you from two of our graduates we’re very proud of, both Trump surrogates. There was a point in the campaign where Trump was falling behind and the whole focus of the media was on his inability to stay on message. Katrina Pierson changed the whole focus of the discussion by saying, ‘Barack Obama got us into Afghanistan.’ She was so demonstrably wrong that the media turned on her and away from the candidate. She took the hit. Then there was the time when Trump insulted Mexicans for the hundredth time. Half his Mexican-Advisory committee quit and he was about to see his limited Hispanic following head even further south. Marco Gutierrez who nobody had ever heard of before, founder of Latinos for Trump (which we started by the way) grabbed all the attention with his, ‘Taco Truck on Every Corner’ line. He took the hit. Consider yourself like the Secret Service where sometimes you have to step into the line of fire and take the bullet.”

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“We’re out of time so I’ll just sum up point seven.When the discussion is over, without regard to the level of vitriol and bitterness these things sometimes rise to. Turn to the camera, smile and thank your host. It proves you’re a good person after all no matter what you just said. I hope you all have gotten a better understanding of why we’re here. We’ll have guest speakers including Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, and James Carville. Welcome to Surrogate School!”