The Most Popular Political Baby

It may be the oldest photo-op in the political playbook: candidates getting captured holding babies.

In New Hampshire, one father took that to the extreme as this year's crop of presidential contenders stumped in his state in advance of last week's first-in-the-nation primary there.

Darren Garnick put his five-month-old daughter, Dahlia, in the arms of almost all the candidates and photographed her being held by them, all the while collecting a bunch of funny stories to tell her when she grows up.

The freelance writer and independent filmmaker, who specializes in politics and pop culture, chronicled the activities for Slate magazine. To see his running account, and all his photos, click here.

Garnick admitted to Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Monday that he's a "goofball" who took advantage of New Hampshire being "surreal, like apolitical Disneyland."

"There's no way candidates aren't thinking 'photo op' with babies," he told Rodriguez. "No doubt. They're using the baby as a prop, and I'm using them as a prop. So it works two ways!"

Garnick said it became clear some of the would-be presidents are pros at ahndling babies, while others could use some work.

In his "Slate" blog, he writes, "As a resident of the "Live Free or Die" state, I'll concede that the New Hampshire presidential primary gives us ridiculously disproportionate influence. But I love the fact that my state's electoral power comes with a great fringe benefit: It's easy to enshrine the next president in your family scrapbook. A sucker for political kitsch, I set out to photograph my 5-month-old daughter, Dahlia, in the arms of every candidate with a prayer of making it to the White House.

"With meticulously detailed campaign schedules posted on the Web, it wasn't hard to get Dahlia into the same room with all the major candidates. But this project was anything but easy. It takes tremendous patience and parental magic to make a child sit through a two-hour presentation on health-care reform. It also takes a paparazzi photographer's instincts to get that winning shot. Candidates often have access to multiple entrances and exits at events, and staking out the wrong one means going home empty-handed."

To see Garnick's Early Show interview, .
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