MARTINS FERRY, Ohio — Staff members for Vice President Joe Biden prevented reporters from asking him a question after a campaign event here, as Biden greeted supporters on a rope line.
Four reporters approached Biden as he was shaking hands, with Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch asking Biden about coal — a significant local issue. Biden ignored the question, as a Secret Service agent tapped Vardon on the arm at the direction of a campaign staffer and asked him to return to the press pen.
The episode is reminiscent of the Romney campaign keeping reporters from approaching the rope line at an event in Florida yesterday — something which Democratic operatives pointed to as an example of a lack of transparency in that campaign.
The Obama campaign allowed reporters to observe Biden's conversations with supporters from the rope line — as long as they did not ask questions. .
Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement yesterday after several negative news stories about the Romney incident: "This was an error on the part of the campaign staff and volunteers. We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor’s interactions with voters."