When a prankster dumped confetti on Newt Gingrich at a book-signing, the presidential candidate brushed off the stunt and quipped that it was “nice to live in a free country,” says the Associated Press, but the man’s easy access to Gingrich raises questions about security on the campaign trail. For presidential hopefuls, security is always a delicate balance between protection and accessibility.
“The grim reality is our elected officials put themselves in harm’s way every day,” said Tim Albrecht, a GOP consultant who worked with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign in 2008. “There is no way you can stop something from happening, but you do as much as you can to keep your candidate as safe as possible.” As the primaries progress, candidates may add security details. They also alert police about campaign events so that local authorities can increase patrols or other safety measures. “The fact is, we certainly are not trying to put anybody off, but in the age of Gabrielle Giffords and that sort of situation, there is going to have to be increased security,” said Bluffton, S.C., Police Chief David McAllister.