A compliment made to an old friend backfires.
(Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for TheWrap)
President Obama let loose a hornets' nest of critics on April 4 when news broke that he'd called California Attorney General Kamala Harris "brilliant," "dedicated" and "tough" and "by far, the best-looking attorney general" at a Democratic National Committee fund-raising event. Negative responses in blogs and on Twitter ranged from disgraceful to insensitive to sexist, prompting the president to apologize to Harris a few hours later.
"He called her to apologize 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," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at Friday's daily briefing.
Much ado about nothing?
Some might say so given the president also likes to dish out similar compliments to men. He's used the phrase "good looking guy" in reference to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and others, including sports figures.
Harris isn't bothered.
"The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years," her communications director Gil Duran told Politico via email Friday. "They had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him."
Unfortunately for Obama, not everyone is letting him off the hook so easily. And these days what's viewed as politically correct in an equal opportunity world is such a subjective thing.
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