SACRAMENTO — President Barack Obama praised California's attorney general for more than her smarts and toughness at a Democratic Party event.
The president also commended Kamala Harris on Thursday for being "the best-looking attorney general" during a Democratic fundraising lunch in the Silicon Valley.
"She's brilliant and she's dedicated, she's tough. ... She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general," Obama said during the Democratic National Committee luncheon in Atherton.
"It's true! C'mon," he continued as the crowd laughed, according to a pool report by Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News.
Eight other states also have female attorneys general, according to the National Association of Attorneys General website.
Harris was present and spoke to the crowd before the president made his remarks, but spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill could not immediately say if she was offended.
"The attorney general is traveling and has no comment," Gledhill said.
The president's comments quickly lit up news blogs and websites nationwide.
"Sexual Harris-ment?" wondered Vanity Fair in its online report.
"After President Obama calls Kamala Harris the 'best looking attorney general', when can you compliment a woman's looks?" read the headline on a piece by Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri. The article quickly drew several dozen reader comments.
Harris considers Obama a friend, and they have campaigned for each other in previous elections. Some pundits have described Harris as a "female Obama" because of her stage presence and because she, like the president, is of mixed race.
She recently appeared on several Washington talk shows commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages. Harris opposes the proposition.