A professional campaign operative I know believes optics are extremely important when it comes to political candidates. Therefore, the optics of Hillary Clinton having her staff herd reporters behind a rope during a parade in New Hampshire certainly didn’t look all that great.

For the reporters who were there, the story became about being held behind ropes as Hillary walked the parade route:

At the Fourth of July parade Hillary Clinton marched in today in Gorham, New Hampshire, reporters following the candidate were kept — and at moments, dragged — behind an actual moving rope line.

The rope, which two Clinton staffers held on to on either side, was meant to give Clinton space as she walked down the parade route, but photos of reporters being dragged behind the rope as she marched have gone viral on Twitter.

They certainly did. Here are a couple of them:

The New Hampshire GOP didn’t waste any time in calling attention to it:

“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.”

Hillary’s campaign responded to the criticism:  “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.”

The problem is, as reported in the Washington Post, they were not “right there”:

Our colleague Philip Rucker reports that initially the press had been able to get close to Clinton and observe and listen as she chatted up voters. Then he said campaign aides unfurled a rope that stretched across the street, blocking access to the candidate. Rucker said they were kept 10 to 15 feet away from Clinton and could no longer hear what she was saying to people.

Hillary can afford to do this for now. She has a commanding lead over any other Democratic opponent, and even though general election polls at this point are pretty much useless, she is still showing ahead of any of her possible GOP opponents.