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Why is Barack Obama Apologizing For His Comment On Kamala Harris’ Looks?

President Barack Obama is greeted before his State of the Union address
President Barack Obama is greeted before his State of the Union address (Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

President Obama was at a fundraiser event in Northern California addressing the audience and he made the statement “[Kamala Harris] is the best looking Attorney General.” Reports indicate that the crowd reveled in the comment’s lightheartedness but Obama’s critics were soon to raise their eyebrows. 

Kamala Harris
Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Was the president out of line in commenting on a female professional’s appearance?

What if we flipped the situation onto the opposite gender? Would the president have made a similar remark about a male attorney general? I could only imagine the backlash in that situation with the Defense of Marriage Act fresh in everyone’s minds. I am going to guess the president would not have made the comment towards a male coworker. But that is only speculation and I nor can anyone else know whether the president would make the same comment about a handsome man. But if he had, would the same uproar be heard?

What does the comment hope to accomplish?

On the surface the comment was a simple jest, if you will, to warm up the audience members and get in their good graces. For the most part, it was a booming success. But what are the repercussions of the comment? Besides being put in Bo’s dog house by Michelle Obama, the president’s comment rang loud among proponents of equality in the workplace. No one would want to hear their boss introduce a coworker as “the best looking.” Wouldn’t that make you think your boss gives that employee preferential treatment and only because of their good looks?

While the comment arguably meant no harm and arguably caused no harm, I still believe the president is doing the right thing by apologizing for the comment.

According to Press Secretary Jay Carney, within only a few hours after the fundraiser, President Obama called Harris to apologize for his distracting comments about her looks.

I’m sure anyone would be happy to receive a compliment from the most powerful man in the world, but, Obama, giving the compliment in front of a crowd of people might not be the best location.

I’m interested to know what you think? I’ll be checking back for your comments below!


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