During a Democratic National Committee fundraising lunch in Atherton, California on Thursday, President Obama opined that California Attorney General Kamala Harris is "by far the best-looking attorney general", which prompted criticism from supporters on the left, who believe he had crossed the line, and from critics on the right, who contend that a Republican President, speaking in similar fashion, would never receive the same kind of pass from the mainstream media.
White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at a press briefing on Friday that the President called Harris on Thursday night to "apologize for the distraction created by his comments."
When pressed further on the issue, Carney said, "Look, I think I made clear, [the President] apologized for creating this distraction..."
Later on, during the press briefing, a reporter asked Carney: "Jay, just to follow up on Harris - twice you said that the President apologized for the distraction. Does he not think that the remark was sexist?"
"Well, he apologized for the remark," said Carney. "And they’re old friends..."
"So he acknowledges it was inappropriate?" the reporter asked.
Carney parried: "[The President] has known her for a long time and he apologized for it, and he certainly regretted that it caused the distraction..."
"You seem to make a distinction," the reporter responded.
Carney replied: "No. I’m making clear, I think, that [the President] apologized for it and believes that she is a superb Attorney General for the state of California..."
The President and Vice President, in various speeches and remarks over the last several years, have evinced a bizarre preoccupation, and strange obsession, with good looks. Nevertheless, while Obama's latest remarks - about Kamala Harris - might be somewhat crude, unrefined and unpresidential, I wouldn't necessarily say he stepped over the line.
However, when he addresses both, female factory employees and female reporters as "SWEETIES", well.........