Obama apologizes to Kamala Harris for comments on her appearance

President Barack Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize after calling her "by far, the best-looking attorney general" during remarks at a fundraiser in Atherton, Calif., on Thursday, the White House confirmed on Friday.

"The president did speak with Attorney General Harris last night after he came back from his trip," White House press secretary Jay Carney said at Friday's press briefing, "and he called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments." Carney said Obama and Harris are "old friends" and "he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's profession, accomplishments and her capabilities." Carney lauded her experience and record, repeating the professional compliments the president had also issued on Thursday night.

"He fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance," Carney said.

At the start of his current term, the president faced criticism for nominating only white men to top administration positions, including in a New York Times story discussing the president's all-male inner circle.

Since then, the president's nominations have included REI CEO Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department, Secret Service Chief of Staff Julia Pierson to head that agency and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez to head Labor.

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