Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, flanked by campaign staffers and Secret Service agents and blocked by a rope keeping the media at a distance, marches in the July 4 parade in Gorham, N.H. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

By Philip Rucker and Ed O’Keefe
July 4, 2015 at 8:57 PM

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-white-and-blue pantsuit and navy Salvatore Ferragamo patent leather flats, pretended not to hear him and remarked, “I actually love parades.”
Jeb Bush runs along the Independence Day parade route in Merrimack, N.H., one of two parades he marched in Saturday. (Gretchen Ertl/Reuters)

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.

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