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Kamala Harris, the 'best-looking attorney general' of America
Agencies
April 06, 2013
First Published: 22:36 IST(6/4/2013)
Last Updated: 09:04 IST(7/4/2013)

Barack Obama on Saturday apologised to Kamala Harris for his comment in which he described the Indian-American as the best-looking attorney general of America - which many alleged was a sexist remark.

Obama called Harris on Friday night to "apologise" for both his "remarks" and the "distraction" that it caused for one of the brilliant attorney generals of the country, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

He was responding to questions on the comments made by Obama on Harris at a Democratic fund raiser in California wherein he praised 48-year-old Harris. Read: Obama in a spot after praising Indian-American attorney's looks

"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, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake," Obama said praising Harris, who is the first women and first Indian-American to be elected as the Attorney General of California.

"She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country - Kamala Harris is here," Obama had said amidst applause. "It's true. Come on," he said amidst laughter. Read: 'Obama says sorry to Harris for sexist remarks'


California attorney general Kamala D Harris speaks to the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. AFP

"She is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years," said the US President, which soon became a buzzword on the social media and a point for criticising Obama. Read: Pretty Kamala Harris floors Barack Obama

Who is Kamala Harris?
Born in Oakland, California, Attorney General Harris is a graduate of Howard University, America's oldest historically black university. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Harris, 48, daughter of an Indian mother and an African-American father, became the first woman and first Indian-American to be elected as California's top law official in 2010, after serving as district attorney in San Francisco.
 
A rising star of Democratic Party, her tenure in law enforcement has included a tough stance on hate crimes, and the unusual prosecution of parents of truant children.

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.


California attorney general Kamala D Harris speaks to the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. AFP

Harris recently gained prominence due to her role in orchestrating a $25 billion settlement between states and banks over illegal shortcuts in foreclosures. Carney said Obama believes Harris did an "excellent job" on the issue.

Work:
Attorney general Harris began her career in the Alameda County district attorney's Office, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. In 1998, she joined the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, where she led the Career Criminal Unit. She also served as the head of the San Francisco City Attorney's Division on Children and Families.

On January 3, 2011, Kamala D Harris was sworn in as the 32nd attorney general of the State of California. She is the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian to hold the office in the history of California.

As chief law enforcement officer for the state, attorney general Harris has focused on combating transnational gangs that are trafficking guns, drugs, and human beings throughout California.  She has worked to increase the adoption of technology and data-driven policing to assist law enforcement in the efficient investigation and prosecution of crime, and has traveled to every region of California to expand partnerships with local law enforcement.


California attorney general Kamala D Harris speaks to the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. AFP

As chief lawyer for the people of California, attorney general Harris has led a bold response to the state's foreclosure crisis. She has expanded prosecutions of mortgage-related fraud and crime by establishing a multidivisional Mortgage Fraud Strike Force.

On behalf of California homeowners, she secured an estimated $18 billion from the nation's banks as part of the recent National Mortgage Settlement, including $12 billion in principal reductions.

To restore transparency and fairness to the mortgage and foreclosure system, she wrote the nation's most comprehensive package of foreclosure reforms-the California Homeowner Bill of Rights-and fought successfully for its passage through the California Legislature and saw it signed into law.

A career prosecutor, Harris served two terms as district attorney of San Francisco. Defeating a two-term incumbent, she was first elected DA in 2003, and was overwhelmingly elected to a second term in November 2007.

(With inputs from Agencies and www.kamalaharris.org)


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