Obama sorry for 'best-looking' comment

2013-04-06 12:50

Washington - US President Barack Obama has apologised to California's top lawyer for causing a stir when he called her "the best-looking attorney general" at a fundraiser they attended together this week.

The comment instantly lit up social media, with some highlighting it as an example of the hurdles working women still face in the US. Obama was criticised earlier this year for bringing in a heavily male group of advisers for his second term, which started in January.

A spokesperson for Kamala Harris said she had a great conversation with Obama and strongly supports him but would not say whether she had accepted his apology. Obama apologised by telephone Thursday night, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Long-time friends

At a fundraiser in Silicon Valley earlier that day, Obama raised eyebrows when he said Harris "happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country. It's true! C'mon." He prefaced the remark by saying she is "brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law."

Harris was present at the fundraiser and addressed the crowd before the president spoke.

Carney and Harris's spokesperson, Gil Duran, both noted that Obama and Harris are long-time friends.

"He called her to apologise for the distraction created by his comments," Carney told reporters on Friday. "He did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities."

He noted that Obama also commented on Harris' smarts.

Carney went on to say that Obama "fully recognises the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance."

In an e-mailed statement, Duran noted the longstanding ties between Obama and Harris.

"They had a great conversation yesterday, and she strongly supports him," he said.

Duran later declined to say whether Harris had accepted the president's apology or whether she was offended by his comment.

Harris was not expected to comment herself.

Harris and Obama have campaigned for each other in prior elections. Some pundits have described her as a female version of Obama because of her stage presence and because, like the president, she is of mixed race.

  • Jako van der Merwe - 2013-04-06 13:19

    What utter nonsense

      Dolphad Listo - 2013-04-06 20:25

      Indeed, she is good looking.

  • Ravin Khoza - 2013-04-06 13:26

    I'm not sure if the comment was intended for harm, i'm puzzled.

  • dale.johnson.CFC - 2013-04-06 13:28

    Eish !!!! The world is a crazy place ....... No more complimenting !!!!

  • sam.makua.10 - 2013-04-06 13:37

    No more complement burn all bras we are asexual

  • Mapsikolosha Ka Mobu - 2013-04-06 13:48

    That's strange!, What harm would be done by just acknowledging that someone stands out from the crowd by being smart looking? Eish yaaa ne!

  • Hasani P - 2013-04-06 13:50

    Snatched out of context

  • Harley Quin - 2013-04-06 13:55

    The american pc brigade will not stop until we are all gray androginous people, all the while bombing the crap out of anyone not accepting their version of democracy

  • piet.grobelaar - 2013-04-06 13:56

    Why is this news? Sorry honey. No more you look beautiful remarks. PC is definitely needed but it's gone far.

  • Mara Vermaas - 2013-04-06 14:04

    How droll.

  • Ann Padoa - 2013-04-06 14:06

    It was a compliment for goodness sake. how pathetic can some people be.

  • Jan Henning - 2013-04-06 14:38

    Only in the USA it is a sin to compliment another.

  • Lucy Lu - 2013-04-06 14:53

    I wonder what the comment's in this story would've been if the remark was made by Zuma... Just a thought

  • Gwilym John Howes - 2013-04-06 15:08

    Pathetic! How can you apologise for paying someone a compliment?! Perhaps now he should say she is by no means the best looking...

  • Mario Kleynhans - 2013-04-06 16:04

    Like a cyclist pinching a bottom! Slap him if you don't like it!!! Noooo she makes a court case!

  • Arthur Salvado - 2013-04-06 17:19

    World has gone cuckoo . There are so many "rights" that eventually you left with no "rights" I suppose you need to be criminal to enjoy rights as they were intended. So, be careful what to say and to whom

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