The gang at MSNBC’s Morning Joe had a good laugh at the expense of Hillary Clinton’s director of communications Monday morning as she tried to explain the campaign’s use of a rope barrier.
The moving rope line was used to keep the press away from Clinton at an Independence Day parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, over the weekend.
The rope was held by two of Clinton’s advance staffers, who at times walked ahead of reporters, seemingly pulling them along the parade route.
“You guys, we are going to do 10 yards and a little more organized,” said one of the advance staffers after breaking out the rope.
In explaining why they were using the rope, the staffer said, “so maybe a voter could see her, that kind of thing.”
Unfortunately for the Clinton campaign, the incident became a PR disaster for their boss when images like the one below emerged:
Clinton Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri’s explanation for the use of the rope barrier drew guffaws from the Morning Joe panel.
“I think that um…you know… here’s what… let’s talk about our theory on press access and uh…” she stammered as Joe Scarborough and Co. giggled profusely.
“We try to allow as much access as possible, but my view is, it can’t get in the way of her trying to campaign,” Palmieri continued. See the video on the next page.
As the Washington Free Beacon notes, the idea that the Clinton campaign allows “as much access as possible” for the press conflicts with the accounts offered by actual members of the press.
In one memorable instance, Clinton Global Initiative press minders followed reporters into the bathroom during an event. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote that the incident reflected “the dark and, frankly, paranoid view the Clintons have toward the national media.”
The New Hampshire Republican Party issued the following statement on the incident:
“Clinton continues to demonstrate her obvious contempt and disdain for the Granite State’s style of grassroots campaigning. 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,” New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn said in a statement.
The Clinton campaign fired back.
“While the GOP may want to spin a good yarn on this, let’s not get tied up in knots,” said Nick Merrill, the campaign’s traveling press secretary. “We wanted to accommodate the press, allow her to greet voters, and allow the press to be right there in the parade with her as opposed to preset locations. And that’s what we did.”
A poll up at the Baltimore Sun shows that the American public has a very low opinion of the Clinton campaign’s use of a rope barrier to corral the press.
At the time of this writing, 84.21% who responded deemed that it was “undemocratic.” Only 14.79% thought the use of a rope to herd the media was a “clever idea.” Zero percent had no opinion.