At­tempts by Clin­ton, Bush to re­cast their im­ages fal­ter

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY PHILIP RUCKER AND ED O’KEEFE O’Keefe re­ported from Amherst, N.H.

GORHAM, N.H.- For Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton, walk­ing in Satur­day’s Fourth of July pa­rade in this moun­tain ham­let was sup­posed to show­case the some­times-stiff can­di­date as ac­ces­si­ble and in touch with the peo­ple— a cham­pion for ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans, as the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner likes to put it.

But the im­age Clin­ton pro­jected dur­ing this rare glimpse as a can­di­date away from the podium seemed to re­in­force how very dif­fer­ent she is from the vot­ers she was court­ing. She marched briskly down Main Street in a co­coon of cam­paign staffers and Se­cret Ser­vice agents. Heck­lers fol­lowed her, shout­ing ep­i­thets. The for­mer sec­re­tary of state en­thu­si­as­ti­cally shook hands and ex­changed pleas­antries with sup­port­ers — “Good to see you!” “I need your vote.” “Let’s make it hap­pen!” — but only oc­ca­sion­ally slowed down to chat, such as when aides di­rected her to a Marine Corps vet­eran in a wheel­chair.

The media, mean­while, was kept at a dis­tance and mostly out of earshot of Clin­ton’s in­ter­ac­tions in this ru­ral, work­ing-class com­mu­nity. A few min­utes into the pa­rade, her aides un­furled a long rope across the street to phys­i­cally block jour­nal­ists from get­ting too close to the can­di­date.

“It feels like a coro­na­tion, doesn’t it?” one man shouted. “God bless the queen!”

Clin­ton, smil­ing in a red-white­and-blue pantsuit and navy Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo patent leather flats, pre­tended not to hear him and re­marked, “I ac­tu­ally love pa­rades.”

At another pa­rade at the other end of New Hamp­shire, another dy­nasty can­di­date also tried to shake im­pres­sions of be­ing aloof.

Jeb Bush has been la­bor­ing to rid him­self of the bur­dens of his fam­ily’s po­lit­i­cal legacy. But as the for­mer Repub­li­can gover­nor of Florida walked the pa­rade route in Amherst, it be­came clear how dif­fi­cult it would be for vot­ers to dis­tin­guish him from his fa­ther and brother, both for­mer pres­i­dents.

A few peo­ple ac­ci­den­tally called him Ge­orge. One man wore a red T-shirt that said, “Bush Hat Trick,” a ref­er­ence to when hockey play­ers score three goals in a game. “Where did you get that shirt?” Bush asked be­grudg­ingly. When an older woman said, “I love your mother,” the can­di­date replied, “I love her, too!” Oth­ers had dif­fer­ent opin­ions. “No more Bushes!” one woman shouted at the can­di­date. “No more Bushes!”

March­ing in In­de­pen­dence Day pa­rades is a time-hon­ored po­lit­i­cal tra­di­tion in New Hamp­shire, which hosts the first pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. With seven months un­til the pri­mary, can­di­dates fanned out across the state Satur­day to walk with their sup­port­ers car­ry­ing signs, bal­loons or other in­signia— and to win over new fans.

In Wolfeboro, a pic­turesque tourist town on Lake Win­nipesaukee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Sen. Marco Ru­bio (R-Fla.) marched in the morn­ing pa­rade. Both can­di­dates, as well as their fam­i­lies, had spent the night at the home of Wolfeboro’s most fa­mous part-time res­i­dent: Mitt Rom­ney, the 2012 Repub­li­can nom­i­nee. The three politi­cians were spot­ted get­ting ice cream to­gether at Bai­ley’s Bub­ble on Fri­day night.

For­mer Texas gover­nor Rick Perry (R), Sen. Lind­sey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and for­mer Rhode Is­land gover­nor Lin­coln Chafee (D) also marched in the Amherst pa­rade with Bush. Other can­di­dates had con­tin­gents if they, them­selves, couldn’t par­tic­i­pate. One of the big­gest draws there was a blue school bus, pow­ered by veg­etable oil, to pro­mote the can­di­dacy of Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.). Rid­ing aboard the bus were two chick­ens, Clucky and Chucky.

Bush’s group was rel­a­tively sub­dued. Sport­ing chi­nos and a but­ton-down shirt, Bush walked with about 30 cam­paign vol­un­teers. Their big at­trac­tion was a 1961 sil­ver Corvette with red leather in­te­rior, driven by state Sen. Rus­sell Prescott.

“I’m car­ry­ing wa­ter for Jeb Bush,” Prescott said. He lit­er­ally was: Acase of bot­tled wa­ter was on the floor of the car next to him. As the pa­rade be­gan, an EMT worker in­structed Bush: “Keep ev­ery­body hy­drated. I don’t want to have to work to­day.”

Bush was joined by son Ge­orge P., the Texas land com­mis­sioner, and Bush’s daugh­ter, Noelle, who rarely ap­pears pub­licly with her fa­ther. Un­like her more gre­gar­i­ous brother, who kept near his fa­ther, she trailed be­hind, blend­ing in with the crowd and hand­ing out stick­ers.

Bush hus­tled on the pa­rade route, dart­ing back and forth across the street, seem­ingly de­ter­mined to shake ev­ery hand on both sides. It was an im­pos­si­ble feat, of course, and quickly slowed down the pa­rade. At one point, a pa­rade mar­shal, Paula Sch­mida, asked Bush ad­viser Rich Kil­lion to get the can­di­date to pick up the pace.

Like Clin­ton, Bush was con­fronted by ag­gres­sive ac­tivists, some of whom wore or­ange Tshirts and sun­glasses fur­nished by Next Gen Cli­mate, the group funded by bil­lion­aire en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Tom Steyer.

One young woman handed Bush a small cup with a slushy treat, telling him that it rep­re­sented a warm­ing planet.

“Oh, yeah? I al­ready got one of those,” Bush told her.

“Our sec­ond one to­day,” Kil­lion said as he took the treat from Bush and nudged the woman back.

When another woman hag­gled over cli­mate change with Bush, the can­di­date, clearly ag­gra­vated, told her to “chill out!”

In Gorham, Clin­ton was joined on­the pa­rade route by a few dozen sup­port­ers. They car­ried a big ban­ner and signs with her H cam­paign logo and chanted “H-I-L-LA-R-Y!”

But one man fol­lowed closely at Clin­ton’s side with a very dif­fer­ent mes­sage: “Beng­hazi,” read the home made sign, with what looked like red blood drip­ping from the letters. He screamed at her about the Sept. 11, 2012, ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Libya and her book-tour gaffe last year that she and for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton had been “dead broke.”

“Where were you when the phone rang at 3a.m. on Septem­ber 11th?” he asked. “Tell us about when you were poor,” he de­manded.

Across the way, a man on a bi­cy­cle shouted at Clin­ton: “What about Beng­hazi? What about the e-mails? You’re a liar!” One Clin­ton aide, notic­ing the man’s span­dex bik­ing out­fit, shot back, “Nice shorts.”

Clin­ton did not seem fazed by the heck­lers. Asked at the end how the pa­rade went, she said, “It was fab­u­lous!”

But by this point, the Clin­ton cam­paign’s rope line bar­ring jour­nal­ists had lighted up Twit­ter. Within about an hour, Jen­nifer Horn, chair­man of the New Hamp­shire Repub­li­can State Com­mit­tee, was out with a state­ment call­ing the rope “a sad joke” and con­demn­ing Clin­ton for “ar­ro­gant and shame­ful be­hav­ior.”

“Hil­lary Clin­ton con­tin­ues to demon­strate her ob­vi­ous con­tempt and dis­dain for the Gran­ite State’s style of grass-roots cam­paign­ing,” Horn said.

At day’s end, Clin­ton vis­ited a diner-style res­tau­rant in nearby Ber­lin to mix and min­gle. “How are the fries?” she asked a woman and her two chil­dren, slid­ing into the booth to join them for a mo­ment.

Clin­ton then headed to an empty ta­ble, where two slices of pie (blue­berry and rasp­berry) awaited her. Re­porters fol­lowed.

“Okay, you guys are not gonna film me eat­ing,” she said, sit­ting down with aides Huma Abe­din, Kristina Schake and Mike Vlacich.

When one re­porter asked her about Don­ald Trump, Clin­ton de­murred.

“You know,” she said, “I’m gonna sit down and have some pie.”

KAYANA SZYMCZAK/GETTY IM­AGES

Jeb Bush, who is try­ing to shed his dy­nasty la­bel, was ac­ci­den­tally called Ge­orge a few times dur­ing the July 4 pa­rade in Amherst, N.H.

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