Kamala Harris(Photo: Richard Vogel, AP)
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- President Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for commenting Thursday on her looks, an aide said Friday.
"He called her (Thursday night) to apologize for the distraction created by his comments," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
"They are old friends and good friends," Carney said."And he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities."
During a fundraiser in California, Obama praised Harris' work and added that "she also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country." As the crowd reacted, the president said, "It's true! Come on!"
Some commentators criticized Obama for the crack, calling it sexist and demeaning.
Carney pointed out that Obama also described Harris as "brilliant, dedicated, and tough."
The president also "fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance," Carney said.
By David Jackson, USA TODAY