President Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for making a flirtatious comment about her at a fundraiser Thursday.
Obama called Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country," a comment that stirred controversy particularly in the California press.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that after the event, Obama called Harris "to apologize for the distraction created by his comments."
"They are old friends, good friends and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities," he said.
Asked whether Obama only apologized for the "distraction," Carney clarified that "he apologized for the remark."
A spokesman for Harris also said Friday that she and the president "had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him."
The unusual slip came during a Democratic fundraiser in Atherton, Calif. While toggling through the routine introductions of local dignitaries, Obama offered effusive praise for Harris.
"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," Obama said.
He added: "She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country -- Kamala Harris is here. It's true. Come on. And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years."
The married president took some ribbing for the comment, which teetered on the line of propriety.
It was reminiscent of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment about New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010.
Speaking at a fundraiser, Reid called her "the hottest member."