WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for causing a stir when he called her “the best-looking attorney general” at a Democratic fundraiser they attended together this week.
A spokesman for Harris said she had a great conversation with Obama and strongly supports him but would not say whether she had accepted the president’s apology.
Obama apologized to Harris by telephone Thursday night after returning from two days of fundraising in California, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
At a fundraiser in Silicon Valley earlier that day, Obama raised eyebrows when he said Harris “happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country. It’s true! C’mon.” He prefaced the remark by saying she is “brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law.”
Harris was present and had addressed the crowd before the president spoke.
The “best-looking” comment instantly lit up news blogs and websites, with some highlighting it as an example of the hurdles working women still face.
Carney and Harris’ spokesman, Gil Duran, both noted that Obama and Harris are longtime friends.
“He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments,” Carney told reporters Friday. “He did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities.”