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Campaign aides for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Saturday roped off reporters from the candidate as she walked and talked with potential voters during a July Fourth parade in New Hampshire, sparking frustration from the press corps and outrage from the state Republican Party.
“Hillary Clinton continues to demonstrate her obvious contempt and disdain for the Granite State’s style of grassroots campaigning,” New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn said in a statement. “The use of a rope line at a New Hampshire parade is a sad joke and insults the traditions of our first-in-the-nation primary.”
Reporters were reportedly allowed to get close to Clinton but were later herded away by campaign aides concerned about crowd control.
“Spectacle of Clinton as candidate -- press being pulled along with a rope,” tweeted New York Times presidential campaign correspondent Maggie Haberman.
The campaign responded to the outrage, telling CNN: “While the GOP might want to spin a good yarn on this, let’s not get tied up in knots. We wanted to accommodate the press, allow (Clinton) greet voters (sic.) And allow the press to be right there in the parade with her, as opposed to preset locations.”
However, the optics of reporters being corralled along at the event, in Gotham, N.H., did not look good and added to the criticism that Clinton, unlike other 2016 presidential candidates, is shielded from reporters and their questions and as a public figure is cloaked in secrecy.
“Never underestimate @HillaryClinton’s capacity to fritter away natural advantages with poor judgement,” tweeted Politico politics reporter Glenn Thrush.
Reporters and potential voters are often kept at a distance from presidential candidates at large events by what is called a “rope line.”
The Clinton campaign faced similar criticism several weeks ago after denying a DailyMail.com reporter access to at least one campaign event.
The event Saturday was also marked by at least one person heckling Clinton about what exactly she did as secretary of state before the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed.
Though Clinton, also a former first lady and U.S. senator, is the clear Democratic front runner, primary challenger Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent, has been drawing large crowds at campaign events in New Hampshire.