President Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize for the "distraction" created when he remarked on her good looks, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday.
Obama touched off a firestorm at a fundraiser Thursday when he lauded the AG for her looks, saying that she's "brilliant and she's dedicated, she’s tough she also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general."
Critics seized on the remarks and Obama picked up the phone Thursday night when he got back from his trip to apologize, Carney said. He said the two are "old friends and good friends.
"And he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities," Carney said. He noted that Obama had also called Harris "brilliant, dedicated, and tough. And she is all those things. She has been a remarkably effective leader as attorney general. She's a key player in the mortgage settlement which will help, you know, many, many middle-class families who are struggling to deal with the mortgage situation in this country."
Obama, Carney said, "fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance."
Asked whether Obama believes the remark was sexist, Carney repeated for that he had apologized, and "certainly regretted that it caused that distraction."