President Barack Obama has called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize for complimenting Harris on her looks during a Bay Area fundraiser earlier this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.
"He apologized for it and regrets the distraction it caused," Carney said in a White House press briefing.
As Obama spoke at a Democratic National Committee event in Atherton on Thursday, he praised Harris for her intelligence and dedication to public service, then called her "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."
Reactions were swift, with some critics accusing the president of sexism.
The comment also spurred an online conversation about whether mentioning a woman's appearance has any place in a professional setting.
Harris spokesman Gil Duran later said via email: "The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday, and she strongly supports him."
Jeremy B. White
BY THE NUMBERS
A group that lobbies for government openness has given California an F for spending transparency. The California Public Interest Research Group and its national counterpart, USPIRG, hammered the Golden State in a recent report on all 50 states' use of Web technology to open their books for public scrutiny. The Golden State ranked 49th.
"Mr. President Yolo County has a FINE looking supervisor in the 3rd District."
MATT REXROAD, Republican political consultant and Yolo County supervisor representing (of course) the 3rd District, via Twitter