Obama sorry over Kamala Harris 'good-looking' comment
President Barack Obama has apologised to the California attorney general for remarking on her appearance at a fundraising event on Thursday.
Mr Obama described Kamala Harris, a long-time friend, as "the best-looking attorney general in the country".
Ms Harris's spokesman said she strongly supported Mr Obama but would not say whether she had accepted his apology.
Critics have cited the remark as an example of the ongoing hurdles women face in the workplace.
Speaking after Ms Harris at the fundraising event in California on Thursday, Mr Obama said she was "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".
Then he added: "She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country... It's true. Come on. And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years."
On Friday, the White House said the president had spoken to the attorney general to apologise for the "distraction" created by his comments.
"He did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities," press secretary Jay Carney said.
He added that the president "fully recognises the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance".
Writers and bloggers have commented that although the president is a personal friend of Ms Harris and a strong supporter of women's rights, his remarks were inappropriate.
Is this really an issue? There is no way she was actually offended by that...
People need to relax for fuck's sake. If it was the only positive thing he said about her, okay, I'd get the outrage. But it was a jokey comment tacked on to his introduction of her, after he he'd gone through a laundry list of legitimate accomplishments.
She wasn't offended.
Right wingers were because they need to be offended about something Obama did,
This was silly, he didn't need to apologize, R2's right, she couldn't have been upset with him for saying it.
You are such a handsome young Man!
Kamala is a good looking woman.
On the news the reporter said the Obamas and Harris are friends. Way, way, way too much has been made of this comment.
Would he say the same thing to Janet Reno?
Why did Obama have to comment about her looks in the first place? Would he have made those remarks about a male attorney general? Obama was in the wrong and should have apologized. Yes, I'm a woman. Our looks are still scrutinized in professional settings, and that needs to stop.
Obama has made other stupid gaffes. Like when he referred to a female reporter as sweetie. That wasn't appropriate either. When I was an undergrad a male professor called me sweetie when he dismissed the comment I made during a class discussion. I dared to disagree with one of his opinions. It was a way of putting me in my place. Very condescending. I was embarrassed and stayed quiet for the remainder of the class. You may not understand where I'm coming from. Hopefully you will.
Bottom line is that Obama needs to be more careful about how he treats women in professional settings. Calling them pet names and referencing their attractiveness put unwanted spotlight on them. We women want to be treated with respect and acknowledged as equals. We have had to put up with sexist crap from professors and co-workers and shouldn't have to tolerate it from our president.
I'm not a freeper. Please don't accuse me of being one. My political views are progressive. If Bush had done this I would be equally critical.
Does Barack put it in her?
[quote]Does Barack put it in her?
I doubt if Kamala Harris wants Barack to put it in her. Isn't she one of us?
R10, kindly shut the fuck up, toots. You give all broads a bad name.
Actually, it wasn't the fascists who were upset by the remark. I heard two separate lady Foxites declare strongly that they didn't see anything wrong with it.
Thanks for not disappointing me, r13. You're the kind of response I anticipated. Misogyny is so ugly. I'm outta here.
he never said a word about my beautiful bangs....
you'll be missed r10/r15
Pam Bondi of Florida is much better looking and more Obama's type.
R13 is such a juvenile troll who's probably in his 50s.
R17 is his pathetic roommate.
I wonder if he would have made the comment about a white woman.
I hope he doesn't weigh in on Chloe Grace Moretz playing Carrie.
Kamala is hot and I voted for her!
Liberals made fools of themselves on this one. It's fucking embarrassing to watch.
r10 we would know you're a woman without you having to spell it out. Pull the stick out and fight a battle that actually means something.
I thought you were leaving r10/r15 (and r21 posting from a different browser.)
Between his comments and Michelle's single mother gaffe, I wonder if things are rocky.
What was the single mother gaffe?
48 and never married, no kids. Might think she's one of us :)
I'm a huge Obama fan, and I think he deserved the slap on the hand he received for the comment. I'm glad he apologized. As bad as his comment was for women in general (being judged on looks in professional setting), it must have been embarrassing for the other state attorneys general (especially the female ones--not sure how many there are), wondering if Barack finds them unattractive.
This is the biggest non-story since BENGHAZI!
I don't know whether Harris is a lesbian, but she was Willie Brown's mistress for a year or so, just before he became Mayor of San Francisco.
r25 = misogynist faggot
go fucking die already you piece of whorthless shit, humanity doesn't need you or your diseased asshole
He's such a horndog!
Chill, r33. Any form of bigotry is unacceptable. R25 addressed me. I can defend myself. No need for you to espouse such hateful views. Don't you realize that what you wrote is so much worse than what he did?
R26, I sign my posts in threads I post on. Why would I hide when I did nothing wrong? There's no need for me to.
R25, I love you too. I do plenty of work that "actually means something." Don't presume to know what I do and don't do. Okay?
I have to agree with R10. It's completely irrelevant to talk about how she looks. It is a matter of degrees however - if it was the only thing he had to say, then it would be insulting, if it was wrapped in a bunch of comments about her as a person (e.g. she has a warm and caring spirit, kind, generous......) then maybe it would have been OK - but how it was put, no, it was a mistake - not a big one, but a mistake nonetheless. He should know better than that. As an aside, FOX news is actually defending him, if I was on the fence before that fact pushed me over.
While it's not exactly massaging Angela Merkel's shoulders, it's one of the most tone deaf things Obama has ever said. He's so damn media savvy that it really sticks out when he does something stupid.
I do love that the SAME EXACT talking heads who defended the Rutgers basketball coach beating and berating his players are the ones up in arms about Obama's 70s style gender gaffe.
I don't think he's put it in any woman since his kids were born.
The problem with Obama is that he still hasn't learned after 4 years to avoid these unnecessary faux pas. Was it offensive? No. Not at all. But in this political climate that we live in, the press, the opposing party and the easily outraged just need an excuse to be, well, outraged.
We are living in 2013 when professional women want to be respected for their smarts and hard work. Being complimented for your looks sounds great coming from your husband. The President? Your boss? Your superiors? Not so much.
This reminds me of the NYT's obituary about a female rocket scientist. The first summation about her life was that she was a good mom and a good cook.
On MSNBC, they showed three or four clips of Barack complimenting men on their looks (at press conferences, taking a question from "that good-looking young man in the front row" or something like that, and talking about a group of guys at some event, commenting (paraphrasing) "that is a handsome group of guys." And NO, I am not suggesting he is gay... Obama is a politician, and part of his job is to be a charmer.
Bill Clinton wouldn't have even needed to say it. You would just KNOW he found her fuckable just by the way he bit his lip. And heavy thumb-pointing if he actually DID fuck her.
Would he have said, look at that guys package?
The Regressive chatter class is desperate for a scandal, any scandal, to come out of the Obama White House. Its unheard of that someone could be in office this long and not have something to taint them. Obama has so far provided them with very little fodder. When they do get something, they beat it to death and it never lives up to what the facts actually are (see Benghazi)and totally backfires on them.
agree with r10
Another +1 with r10 and I adore the guy.
Recently, I've wondered if complacency is setting in with him. The Obama of 4 years ago never would have even come close to being this careless.
Obama wasn't dismissing her, or being patronizing, was he?
I cry for the suffering Ms. Harris is enduring because of the US President's outlandish comments.
It's unfortunate his gaffe came the same day that Mrs. O referred to herself as a "single mother." CBS News had fun with that last night.
R44, I'm hearing /reading more outrage from the left flank than from righties.
Now I can easily guess why (e.g., the Right wants to preserve the "right" to say wildy inappropriate things about people and groups they don't respect), but the fact remains the progressive wing is more upset in this incident.
Next time someone introduces and a gay man and brings out the hackneyed trope about how he dresses so fashionably and his house is so well decorated, get back to me.
Women are constantly only thought worthwhile if they look good. Period. You can have several degrees and a world of accomplishments and the ugliest douchebag who works in a barn shoveling shit will have something to say about what you look like. It's called "the male gaze" and women are never free from its tentacles. Obama did the right thing, in fact, he's leading by example.
Strong and competent women have likely been around since Eve, but for thousands of years most women had to live as second class citizens. Most were not allowed the opportunity to pursue education/gain financial independence. Marriage was usually their main route to economic stability. Like it or not, a woman's physical attractiveness tended to play a large factor in her marriage prospects.
There's been enormous pressure from both the male and female culture for women to be 'attractive'. Whether it's Vogue or Maxim magazine, there's a large demographic out there that values women presenting themselves at a certain level of attractiveness. (Although the male culture is catching up in the pressures to be 'flawless', where everybody has blindingly white teeth, nearly hairless bodies, and washboard abs. Grandpa didn't grow up with Men's Health magazine to pressure him into that.)
In this PC world we live in, it's tricky waters for a man to comment publicly on a professional woman's appearance. Part of us wants to think we've moved beyond that and part of us knows that we're human and we're always going to notice someone's attractiveness. (Even babies are wired to respond positively to someone considered attractive.)
Kamala Harris is undeniably good looking and everyone can see that. It was an honest comment that Obama made after he listed her other qualities of intelligence and achievements. But as a female I did feel like I was having a bit of a "Mad Men" moment when he referenced that aspect of who she is. I like Obama and know he's a great dad for his 2 girls so I think he would never knowingly be a sexist. But there's a part of me that wishes he hadn't made the comment.
You can still count on the Republicans to claim that liberals only complain when a conservative says something the liberals deem offensive.
He shouldn't have made the remark. It's sexist, not to mention he's married.
Yes, it was improper.
Kamala for president...but only after HILLARY!!
R51 has it right. Your explanation of the male gaze was funny and true.
I don't think that it was a big deal to call her attractive. He said it in a joking way and, as others have pointed out, he has referred to men as good looking as well. Calling the reporter 'sweetie' was inappropriate though.
Did you all miss the part where he praised her great intelligence and intense dedication to her job? Basically saying she's one of the best in her field?
Maybe the comment wasn't the best thing to say, but shit, you're acting like he grabbed her ass on stage or said point blank that she wasn't as good as a man.
Just give me a break with the twenty four seven outrage over everything lately. There was nothing sexist about the comment. And it's pretty fucking sad that someone has to apologize for giving someone else a compliment.
It was an inappropriate comment, but people have made too much over it. But I'm glad he apologized quickly so it can be put to bed now.
He meant to say "You're likeable enough."
I think this is an example of "benevolent" sexism. Sure, it could have been worse, a lot worse, but it's still sexism for reasons that have already been explained. He did the right thing by apologizing, and I don't think less of him for it.
[quote]I don't think that it was a big deal to call her attractive. He said it in a joking way and, as others have pointed out, he has referred to men as good looking as well. Calling the reporter 'sweetie' was inappropriate though.
Here's the test. What would your reaction be if George W said it?
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if George W called someone attractive, and called them sweetie. Southern men do this all of the time.
[quote]Southern men do this all of the time.
Those southern men are pigs. Women are worth more than their looks. Period.
Here's the thing, R63: Setting aside his incuriosity and low "book" intellect and incompetence, Bush is an overprivileged asshole 99% of the time. The other 1%, however, Bush can be quite charming and self-deprecating. Had he said EXACTLY what Obama did, I would not have been offended.
This is eggshell-walking territory, IMO.
Biggest non story since those sports commentators called that quarterback's girlfriend "a beautiful woman.". When did compliments become so scandalous? Why does the media fixate on such stupid shit?
I don't think she's particularly attractive. Nowhere near as good-looking as Mrs. Obama.
He's married and the President of the United States. And it was a professional environment. The comment was inappropriate. His intention wasn't to reduce her to an ornament. He thought he was complimenting her honestly. And he apologized. It's done.
But no one needs to know he finds her fuckable.
She's a lesbian isn't she?
He'd have lost the black community if he had said this about a white woman. This, they'll forgive.
I happen to be a female and was somehwat surprised that a few female commenters on MSNBC seemingly went crazy over this comment.
I understand the history of women being treated as sex objects but, I think the sensitivity issue has sometimes gone to the extreme.
Kamala Harris is a very attractive woman and that is the very first thing that popped into my mind the first time I saw her on tv on a 60 minutes piece.
Can a person no longer say that a man or woman is good looking without somebody getting offended?
The POTUS mentioned her laundry list of credentials before making the statement about her attractiveness.
R71, is the black expert. Even though he doesn't know any.
I'm black and it would not offended me if the POTUS has said this about an attractive white woman.
NBC Nightly News pointed out that Obama and his wife and Kamala Harris have been friends for many years.
And it is not unusual for friends to joke around with each other or issue compliments.
NBC Nightly News also pointed out that Obama has been knowm to comment in a complimentary style to others such as at a press conference he was calling on reporters and said 'the good looking man over there' to give the go ahead to that male reporter to ask a question.
Much ado about nothing.
I agree with .
Not a big deal to me, but I guess I am less sensitive about the public expression of personal chumminess. Probably not his finest moment, but good lord, aren't there a thousand more significant political blunders/wrong headed thoughts being expressed daily in this country by Right Wing assholes?
And yes, sweetie was wrong.
You realize this is all staged drama to divide people, right? Right...?
Of all the dumb things to get upset about.
The friendship between Harris and the Obamas is probably why he felt comfortable making the likely well-intentioned/ad-libbed compliment at the end of his speech. If they weren't such good friends, he probably wouldn't have made the comment.
That said, if my boss congratulated an attractive woman in my office publicly on a professional achievement and also mentioned that she was the 'best looking vice president in the sales division', etc, some people might feel that the comment was a little out of place. No, they wouldn't go ballistic over it. But it might hit that 'grey area' for some. It does to me. Others wouldn't mind. To each his own.
I do find it interesting that Obama has publicly congratulated a few women recently who have risen in the ranks (Julia Pierson/new Secret Service chief; Mary Jo White/Head of the SEC and another woman I'm forgetting at the moment) and he didn't reference their attractiveness in his speeches. It may be because he doesn't have the same level of friendship with them as he does with Kamala Harris. Who knows. And to be candid, they are what many would consider to be of average attractiveness.
I'm with R69 but it's interesting to see the various opinions expressed on this thread. This is why I love DL!
R79, of course, he wouldn't reference their attractiveness if they are average looking woman.
What are you talking about?
I've seen those women and they are average.
I haven't even gotten past the second page of this thread, but R10 etc., if you're still reading - Thank you. Seriously. Thank you for fucking getting it. It means a lot to some of us who peruse this board, regardless of what a few misogynistic liars might say.
What I’m talking about, R80, is exactly your point. Those women are ‘average’ looking so their looks wouldn't be singled out for comment BUT THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS WOULD. But if a particularly attractive woman achieves something of merit, is it appropriate to also focus on her looks in addition to her accomplishments?
Why comment publicly on a woman’s looks in a professional environment? Nobody’s blind, they can see for themselves when someone is attractive. But does it need to be publicly commented on along with her professional achievements?
Some would say no and that those types of comments don't have a place in the work environment.
Does it mean that a woman's good looks are the ‘elephant in the room’ in the work environment and that the PC thing to do is ignore it? I don’t have an easy answer for it. But it just seemed ‘clumsy’ for Obama to point out Harris’ attractiveness when it would never be discussed if an average looking woman accomplished what Harris has.
I realize others on this thread feels that it’s no big deal and that people need to get their knickers out of a twist.
You're welcome, r81. Thanks to others who get where I'm coming from. I don't think Obama is the devil. He has done some good things for women. However, he shouldn't be let off the hook for a dumb remark because he has earned some goodwill.
My hope is Obama will be more careful about how he addresses and treats women in professional environments. President should be more sophisticated than addressing a reporter as sweetie and bringing up a woman's attractiveness. He is praised for being media savvy. That's what makes his gaffes so odd. Didn't he run this speech by someone? If it was an off the cuff remark (which I suspect) he needs to not do that. How many times has he said something stupid when he went off-script? That seems to be the pattern.
I hope Obama gets killed!
Another here who thinks R10 nailed it. It's one thing for Obama to make that comment to Harris at a private gathering. It sends quite a different message when he says it publicly. The criticism was entirely warranted, and I'm glad he apologized.
Nothing's wrong with Obama's comment except for how the chattering class reacted to it.
I guess he no longer finds white women attractive.
This "controversy" is the biggest crock of horse shit ever. He gave her a compliment. It wasn't out of place. She's very attractive and a very talented. There wasn't a damned thing wrong with what he said. Only a bunch Right Wing nuts and ugly trolls complained about it.
Women are so boring.
As opposed to your post, R88.
And perhaps its similar as to when my straight guy friends compliment me (a gay woman) and I don't find it offensive because we are buddies. Whereas, a straight woman would think the straight guys are hitting on her.
Bunch of ugly bitches twisting their panties over being given a compliment. Go bleed in silence, stop making the rest of us suffer through your period.
I don't get why people find her sooooo good looking!?! Maybe there's a certain attractiveness about her but c'mon - she's really not extraordinaire
Other Obama "compliments!"
On Kirsten Gillibrand: "And the only thing perkier than her personality are her tits. They're phenomenal."
On Kathleen Sebilius: "She really fills out a pantsuit in all the right places. Don't spend more than 4 hours in a room with her or you'll need to see a doctor. Seriously, priapism is a serious affliction, folks."
At the White House spring picnic where the dress code for women inexplicably consists of white t-shirts: "Hose 'em down!"
I'm really wondering what Michelle thinks about it...
I thought about that, r94. They are friends though, right?
[quote]I don't get why people find her sooooo good looking!?! Maybe there's a certain attractiveness about her but c'mon - she's really not extraordinaire
I'll get shit for this but its true: for many (American) blacks, light-skinned women are considered hot by default. Sort of like blondes for whites. Which would explain Beyonce's stardom over the arguably prettier but dark-skinned Kelly Rowland. Very light or biracial women like Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry are the standard all girls aspire to.
r18 Why do you think she is Obama's type?
Barack and Michelle engaged in their usual playful PDA during that memphis soul thing at the white house. Barack always initiated though and then the serious Michelle finally loosened up.
r86 What a strange comment.
If I were her I'd feel extremely embarassed.
And I've read some articles about the "incident" and most commentators pointed out that Obama probably harmed her career with his "good-looking" comment.
R96, yes historically lighter complexioned black as well as hispanic women have been looked upon by some as more attractive than darker complexioned women.
However, I have seen just as many unnattractive light complexioned women and men as dark complexioned.
Kamala Harris is very attractive and happens to be a light complexioned woman in this case.
You nailed it r87!
r96 Not all black girls "aspire" to look biracial. I think you are exaggerating greatly. And the reason why people are saying Kamala looks good is not because she is light skinned. compared to other Attorney Generals or politicians for that matter she is attractive.
r100 has it: There's a risk she won't be taken seriously anymore.