LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — President Barack Obama apologized to Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris for remarks he made about her looks at a fundraiser in Northern California Thursday.
While the president also acknowledged Harris as being “brilliant,” “dedicated,” and “tough” during the Democratic luncheon in the Silicon Valley, he also said she was “by far, the best-looking attorney general.”
Obama talked to Harris later that night via phone, but not before the television talking heads and the blogosphere had a field day over his comments.
“It’s sexist,” said Sam Bennett. “That simple comment drops her like a stone electorally and makes voters much less likely to see her as qualified or worthy of their vote.”
Women rights attorney Gloria Allred, who was an Obama delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, said Obama’s apology was the right thing to do.
“It’s not the crime of the century,” said Allred. “On the other hand, it’s something he needed to apologize for. We just would like women to be treated seriously and have an equal shot at elected office and any job in the United States for which they are otherwise qualified.”
Political consultant Fiona Hutton agreed the remarks raise serious issues for women in politics and in the working world.
Hutton, however, doesn’t believe it will be a major political problem for the president.
“I think it’s a one or two-day flap that’ll ricochet around California. I think things move on. I think you may have certain bloggers on the conservative side who may want to continue, but I think to the real world, there are probably a lot more pressuring issues,” she said.
Willie Brown, a former state assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor, said Obama’s opponents are just looking for something to attack the president on.
“They can’t criticize him for budget, they can’t criticize him for taxes on the rich, they can’t criticize him for medical care, they got to say something,” he said.
Harris’ office released a statement that said the attorney general and the president have been friends for many years and she strongly supports him.