Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 8, 2013, 6:45pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- President Barack Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for praising her good looks at a fundraiser last week.

During a Friday afternoon press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the President spoke to Harris Thursday night.

"He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments," Carney said. "And 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.

"I would note that he called her -- in those same comments -- 'brilliant,' 'dedicated' and 'tough,' and she is all those things."

Carney also called Harris a "remarkably effective leader."

"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 told reporters last week.

"And (the President) believes and fully recognizes that the challenges women -- or he fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance."

During a Thursday lunch, Obama called Harris the nation's "best-looking attorney general."

According to a pool report written by Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News, the President introduced Harris and proceeded to make the unusual comment.

The following is an excerpt from Gillman's report:

"He introduced California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a rising star in the Democratic party, and called her the 'best-looking attorney general' he's seen (after laughs, he said 'It's true; come on.'). He also called her brilliant, dedicated and tough, and 'exactly what you want' in an AG."

Obama was in California fundraising for the Democratic National Committee. He was reportedly in Atherton, Calif., at the home of Levi Strauss heir John Goldman when he made the comments.

Obama has been a Harris supporter even before she took office.

In 2010, when she was running against Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, the President endorsed her.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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