President Barack Obama was praising the bona fides of California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday when he complimented Harris for something unlikely to show up in her campaign platform.
"She's brilliant and she's dedicated, she's tough ... . She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country," Obama said during a Democratic fundraising lunch in Atherton, according to remarks distributed by the White House.
"It's true; come on," the president said amid laughter from the crowd of donors.
It might not have sounded like the most politically correct way for a president to acknowledge a statewide official. But there was no reaction from Harris, whose spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said the attorney general would have no comment.
Patricia Bellasalma, president of the California National Organization for Women, said the president's remarks about Harris were not substantive enough to be concerned about.
"I wish (the call) was about something substantive," Bellasalma said. "I think that is my reaction, is that that seems to be the only time that the California National Organization for Women gets called isn't when full-scope pregnancy coverage is being cut from the budget or something other that's going to impact women in a detrimental way right here in this city in the state government. But we worry about whether the president thinks Kamala Harris is pretty.
"I guess my comment is no comment, because we're too busy trying to protect women and girls."
Obama is in the Bay Area for a fundraising swing. On Wednesday night he appeared at an event costing $5,000 a head at the home of Tom Steyer, who spearheaded the push for Proposition 39 and is a major opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama administration is considering. Obama also appeared Wednesday at a $32,500-a-head gathering hosted by billionaire Gordon Getty.
Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.