'Obama says sorry to Harris for sexist remarks'
US President Barack Obama has apologised to Kamla Harris, the California attorney general, for his comment in which he described the Indian-American as the best-looking attorney general of America - which many here alleged was a sexiest remark.Updated: Apr 06, 2013, 02:10 IST
US President Barack Obama has apologised to Kamla Harris, the California attorney general, for his comment in which he described the Indian-American as the best-looking attorney general of America - which many here alleged was a sexiest remark.
Obama called Harris on Thursday 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.
"The President did speak with attorney general Harris last night after he came back from his trip, and he called her to apologise for the distraction created by his comments. And you know, they 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 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.
"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.
"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.
"I think I made clear he apologized for creating this distraction and believes very strongly that attorney general Harris is an excellent attorney general and that she's done great work, and she's dedicated and tough and brilliant," Carney said.
"I would note that he called her, in those same comments, brilliant, dedicated and tough, and she is all those things. She has been a remarkably effective leader as attorney general. She is a key player in the mortgage settlement, which will help many, many middle-class families who are struggling to deal with the mortgage situation in this country.
He believes and fully recognises that the challenges women -- or he fully recognises the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance," Carney said.
Daughter of an Indian mother Dr Shyamala Gopalan - a breast cancer specialist who emigrated from Chennai, to the United States in 1960 - and a Jamaican American father, Harris is the first female, African-American, and Asian American attorney general in California, as well as the first ethnic Indian American attorney general in the United States.
According to Politico, certainly, Obama meant no insult, but in singling out Harris for her looks, Obama joins a long list of public figures who just can't seem to let an attractive woman's looks go without comment.
Last year, Republican attorney general candidate David Freed said Democratic opponent Kathleen Kane's strengths were that she's "pretty and has a lot of money," according to Pennsylvania's Daily Review.
Obama came under some fire back in 2008 when he referred to a female reporter as "sweetie" and told her to hold a question for a press availability, the ABC news reported.