This Nov. 16,2012 file photo shows California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaking during a news conference in Los Angeles. President Barack Obama praised Harris for more than her smarts and toughness at a Democratic Party event Thursday, April 4, 2013. The president also commended Harris for being "the best-looking attorney general" during a Democratic fundraising lunch in the Silicon Valley. (AP)
President Barack Obama apologized California Attorney General Kamala Harris after he complimented her looks during a fundraiser on Thursday.
"The president did speak with Attorney General Harris last night after he came back from his trip," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday. "He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments."
Carney said the two are longtime friends, and that Obama did not want to detract from Harris' professional accomplishments.
During a fundraising swing through California, Obama gushed that Harris was "by far the best-looking attorney general," while also calling her brilliant, dedicated and tough.
The remark lit up news sites and social media, drawing questions about its appropriateness and some saying it was illustrative of the challenges still faced by women in the workforce.
"[Obama] fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance," Carney said.