Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press

President Barack Obama said he regretted calling Kamala Harris the nation's "best-looking attorney general."

The Buzz: Obama phones Kamala Harris to apologize for compliment

Published: Saturday, Apr. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Saturday, Apr. 6, 2013 - 10:47 am

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.

– Jon Ortiz

WORTH REPEATING

"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

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