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Politico Reporter on CBS: Scott Brown May Be 'Gaffe-Prone'

Appearing on Thursday's CBS Early Show, Politico.com White House reporter Nia-Malika Henderson argued to co-host Harry Smith that Senator-elect Scott Brown's humorous remark that his daughters were "available" during his Tuesday night victory speech showed that: "this might be a senator who is gaffe-prone, who has to kind of walk back from remarks that he - that he makes."

However, Henderson followed that statement by concluding that Brown's style could make him a "hero for at least folks in the tea bag movement and grassroots folks because he says what's on his mind." Smith agreed: "Yeah, a breath of fresh air, as it were."

Earlier in the segment, Smith admitted he did not see the controversy in the comments: "I'm not seeing sort of what was so horrible about it. And it feels like to me there's a real sort of nice warm familiarity between the new senator and his daughters." He then added: "But I guess it's had other kinds of ramifications and there's some blow back on this."

Henderson described the meager "blow back": "Yes, some people have found this comment kind of cringe-inducing. For instance, Glenn Beck was one of the people who criticized Senator-elect Brown for essentially saying that his daughters were available for marriage." However, she then joined Smith in not seeing it as much of an issue: "most people seem to find it funny....[they] just think this was a real human moment for Senator-elect Brown."

Smith went on to praise Brown's openness: "I wonder if in this day and age that's one of the things that people are sort of seeking is a sort of a person who's a little - everybody talks about transparency. That was a pretty transparent moment." Despite later suggesting Brown could be "gaffe-prone," Henderson agreed with Smith's assessment: "Exactly. That's very much the kind of campaign that Senator - that the - that Brown ran. Very much outside-the-Beltway, unorthodox campaign....this really kind of weird campaign that he ran, very much resonated with folks who were sick of the kind of the button-down ways of Washington."

The hosts on Wednesday's Early Show treated Brown's comment as a gaffe. After playing a clip of it, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked: "What is he thinking?" Co-host Erica Hill remarked: "He is in trouble now." Hill later added: "It could be the next reality show out of D.C....We'll have 'The Dating Game.'"

Fill-in co-host Jeff Glor warned: "The microphones are always on." Weatherman Dave Price explained: "Well, you know, in the heat of the moment, the elation of everything....Sometimes when you have a microphone, you just can't stop."

Here is a full transcript of Smith's exchange with Henderson on Thursday:

8:20AM

HARRY SMITH: Nia-Malika Henderson is a White House reporter for Politico.com. Good morning.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Good morning, Harry.

SMITH: You know, it's interesting, I'm just back in the country and I'm seeing this sort of spill over. And I'm not seeing sort of what was so horrible about it. And it feels like to me there's a real sort of nice warm familiarity between the new senator and his daughters. But I guess it's had other kinds of ramifications and there's some blow back on this.

HENDERSON: Yes, some people have found this comment kind of cringe-inducing. For instance, Glenn Beck was one of the people who criticized Senator-elect Brown for essentially saying that his daughters were available for marriage, so. But most people seem to find it funny and you looked at the reaction of daughter there. She kind of was embarrassed certainly, her mouth kind of dropped open there. And so it was a little embarrassing for them, but most people just think this was a real human moment for Senator-elect Brown.

SMITH: You know, and I wonder if in this day and age that's one of the things that people are sort of seeking is a sort of a person who's a little - everybody talks about transparency. That was a pretty transparent moment.

HENDERSON: Exactly. That's very much the kind of campaign that Senator - that the - that Brown ran. Very much outside-the-Beltway, unorthodox campaign. Here's a guy who posed for Cosmopolitan nude. And that's kind of - this really kind of weird campaign that he ran, very much resonated with folks who were sick of the kind of the button-down ways of Washington.

SMITH: How is this going to play when you get to button-downed Washington? It's one thing out on the hustings. It's a whole other deal once you get to the Emerald City.

HENDERSON: Yeah it's true and I think in that moment you did kind of see a guy who had been, you know, a local politician, all of a sudden he's on the national stage. So things are certainly different when you're a national figure and when he moves to Washington. One of the things that you might - that we might see, is this might be a senator who is gaffe-prone, who has to kind of walk back from remarks that he - that he makes. But he could be, you know, kind of hero for at least folks in the tea bag movement and grassroots folks because he says what's on his mind.

SMITH: Yeah, a breath of fresh air, as it were. Now for the daughters, though, the one has certainly spent a good deal of energy, you know, seeking the spotlight. Everybody in America now knows who she is.

HENDERSON: Exactly. And she has said that she plans to move the release date of her album up to Tuesday to really kind of capitalize on this perfect storm of publicity that was set off by her father's off hand remark.

SMITH: Unbelievable. I guess, though, her Facebook page and everything else was just crushed with people who wanted to friend her.

HENDERSON: Exactly. Indeed, indeed. She's really famous now.

SMITH: Unbelievable. Nia-Malika Henderson, do appreciate it. Thank you very much for your insights this morning.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Harry.

SMITH: Take care, have a good day.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.