President Barack Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize after having called her the "best-looking attorney general" during a fundraising event.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday Obama apologized "for the distraction created by his comments." The pair were "old friends and good friends and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities," Carney said.
Harris' office said in a statement to NBC Bay Area that she and Obama "have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him."
Obama's compliment on Harris' appearance had overshadowed his whirlwind fundraising jaunt in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"She happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country," Obama had said of the rising Democratic star during his prepared remarks at a Democratic National Committee event in Atherton.
The comment was greeted with laughter by the paying crowd. "It's true. Come on," he responded.
On Twitter, #KamalaHarris surged in popularity with people reacting to the remark.
The president also noted Rep. Mike Honda's height (or lack thereof).
"He's not like a real tall guy, but he's a great guy," he said while introducing the Silicon Valley congressman, whom he had trouble finding in the crowd.
Here is the transcript from the White House of those two introductions:
We've got some elected officials who are doing incredible work -- great friends. First of all, somebody who works tirelessly on behalf of California every day, but also works on behalf of working people and makes sure that we've got a more inclusive America -- a good friend of mine, somebody who you guys should be very proud of, Congressman Mike Honda is here. Where is Mike? (Applause.) He is around here somewhere. There he is. Yes, I mean, he's not like a real tall guy, but he's a great guy. (Laughter.)
Second of all, you have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country -- Kamala Harris is here. (Applause.) It's true. Come on. (Laughter.) And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.
The president had attended another fundraising event in nearby San Francisco on Wednesday night.
Outside the fundraising events, a variety of protesters gathered, including some who oppose construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas.
The president was in the Bay Area for less than 24 hours and made no public appearances. His last visit to the region was in October during his re-election campaign.