During an event in Northern California on Thursday, Obama referred to his fellow Democrat as "the best-looking attorney general," drawing laughs from the crowds but later creating a stir among critics.
A few hours after the fundraiser at a private residence, Obama called Harris to say he was sorry for creating a distraction, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday afternoon.
Carney pointed out that, during the fundraiser, Obama also talked about Harris' effectiveness as an attorney general and noted her work as a "key player" in a mortgage settlement with major banks designed to help homeowners harmed by foreclosure abuse.
Still, Carney said, Obama felt the need to apologize for going on to comment on Harris' looks.
The president "fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace," Carney told reports, and believes that they "should not be judged by their appearance."
There has been no word of an apology to Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., after Obama also singled him out in the crowd at the Atherton event.
"He's not a real tall guy," Obama said, "but he's a great guy."
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