barack obama

It’s a rough day in the press for The Obamas. While Michelle Obama is raising eyebrows for a gaffe in which she called herself a “busy single mother,” President Obama is getting heat for calling California Attorney General Kalama Harris attractive.

At a fundraiser in California on Thursday, Obama said that Harris “happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.” “It’s true, come on,” he added before offering: “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.”

The compliment drew a firestorm of criticism as many felt it was inappropriate, offensive to women and bad for workplace equality. Some went as far as to call it sexist.

President Obama has since apologized according to White House Press secretary Jay Carney: “He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments,” and “apologized for the remark.”

Carney continued: “[Obama] did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities. He fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance.”

What do you think of President Barack Obama’s compliment, Clutchettes? Was an apology necessary?

 

  • The Comment

    I wish he stop responding to all this stupid chit.Stop apologizing. She is good looking.

  • D

    So f’ing stupid. She’s good looking. He said so and qualified it with all of her accomplishments, intelligence, etc. It’s not like he said she has legs to die for, has some lovely lady lumps or that she’s a delightfully beautiful idiot. I remember women calling Obama sexy when he was running….they commented on his youthful good looks all the time.

    I swear there’s just a contingent of folks who live to be offended….a professional victim class.

  • Craziee

    What?! You got to be kiddin’ me. He can’t tell a woman she is good-looking. Darn, if his wife doesn’t have a problem, why should anyone else?

    They act as if he had somebody under the desk. My goodness!

  • Tina

    It was inappropriate and it was good of him to apologize. Now, hopefully he’ll do something substantive like diversify his cabinet.

  • http://gobrook.wordpress.com gobrooklyn

    Angela Rye at the Grio gives her take on the comment PLUS other comments he made in the same speech to the same crowd….at a fundraiser (not the workplace): http://thegrio.com/2013/04/05/in-defense-of-barack-obamas-kamala-harris-best-looking-remark/

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Maybe a bit much, but lets not put him up there like he is on the street corner catcalling random women.

  • The Comment

    “They act as if he had somebody under the desk.”

    Ok….with stains on her blue dress.

  • c

    LOL!

  • http://gobrook.wordpress.com gobrooklyn

    What diversity you looking for? His cabinet is made up of 44% women. Only woman replaced by man was Hillary Clinton w/ John Kerry.

  • Emme

    Very good reference article! I think it couldn’t be more on point. The people who think he shouldn’t pay corny little compliments to his good friends (and their families) amongst his other friends and supporters also think he shouldn’t be president or allowed to say anything to anyone at all. Should he also have apologized for the cute baby contest remark? Or for saying the 90 year old woman was better looking than he was? Idk…. people need to relax. I wish he hadn’t apologized.

  • Shirl

    As much as I love the President and adore the first lady I gotta say they both put their foots in their mouths on this one but I ain’t mad at em. The folk at Fox are probably in an orgasmic frenzy right now…I’m sure old Limbaugh will be throbbing in his nether region for days.

  • Mademoiselle

    It was an innocent compliment, but I see why people are in an uproar. Think about it: if your manager were talking to someone about how great a worker you are, and ended with “and s/he’s five foot eight, too,” or “and s/he wears a size 8 shoe,” whoever he was speaking to would look at him like “what the hell does that have to do with anything?”

    I don’t think people are mad because he isn’t blind (she’s an attractive lady, of course). The reason his innocent compliment is sexist is because how someone looks should be irrelevant in a conversation about that person’s performance, yet women get those kinds of “innocent compliments” appended to discussions about their jobs very often. It’s something that irked me about my previous 2 managers, even though I’m sure, or I at least hope they didn’t mean anything by it, but how nice I looked came up a few too many times with those two. Part of what bothered me is it tended to be done in a way that drew attention from others around (making me feel like the team trophy even though my work alone was enough of an attention-getter), and I never heard them do the same thing to any of my male colleagues even though they outnumbered me and were also attractive.

    How many times has Obama had a conversation about any other public official that happened to be male where he felt the need to point out how handsome the guy is when championing his achievements? I’m sure the answer is somewhere close to never. Of course everyone loves a nice compliment, even if it’s coming from your superior. Just because it was a compliment, though, doesn’t mean it was appropriate in that setting/conversation. It’s almost as if he qualified all of her job qualities with her looks — as if to say “she’s pretty good, but she’s also foxy, so guess why I like having her around”. He should’ve known better, and kept it all business.

    Bonus: for anyone wondering, this is the same reason why lauding his daughters for growing up to be beautiful women is a problem — a woman’s/girl’s merit and her aesthetics shouldn’t be interchangeable even if both are noteworthy because one is not related to the other.

    All that said, as far as gaffes go, this was a fairly innocent one. He needs to remember that he’s only in year 5, though and has a few more to go before he can afford to be uncalculated. Watch your step, B.

    P.S. I’m surprised to see how different the responses from a site that attracts many black feminists/womanists are from other sites that wrote about this same story and attract white feminists. If I were one to make assumptions, I’d think black women only get offended when they’re on the receiving end of “negative” biases, but would be perfectly ok if the biases erred on the side of undue privilege, which might point to black women being no better than white women… But I’m not one to make such assumptions.

  • Dalili

    LMBO @ The Comment! Too funny!

  • Nic

    Well, it’s a shame that it’s news when a successful, educated black man only seems to like black women.
    POTUS likes attractive BLACK ladies. And apparently of all shades. He’s married to one. He’s raising two more. More black men need to follow his example and stop buying into the idea that black is only attractive when it’s on them.
    We have all kinds of clowns publicy insulting black women every which way but Sunday, but let’s be mad at the one who actually likes black women.

  • Anthony

    Kamala Harris is cute. If we were both single I would love to have her cross examine my case whenever she felt like it!

    Seriously, Obama has been re- elected already, he can’t be touched for his comments. I understand the principle, but she is a state AG, not the federal one, he is not her supervisor. I think he should have ignored the complaints.

  • Ash

    I think it’s an unfortunate comment and I’m happy he apologized. ANY GOP leader has a lot of nerve calling Barack sexist when they spend all day figuring out how to F over women.

  • justanotheropinion

    In agreement with you except for the P.S. (which can be debated).

    Bottom line: what a person looks like has nothing to do with whether or not they can do the job. Although it was a just compliment, it had no place in the business realm.

  • chinaza

    This is nonsense. He owed no apology to anyone.
    How does he diminish her with a passing compliment? People need to grow the hell up and be concerned about issues that actually affect their lives.

  • Medusa

    You got a lot of thumbs down here, but I actually agree. I mean, she is good-looking, but I’m not sure why the President should be talking about the CA AG’s looks… This was more of a Joe Biden thing to say, lol

  • Cherry

    The fact that supposedly intelligent folks can’t understand why this statement was completely inappropriate, demeaning, sexist, and utterly problematic explains why we as a people are so fucked up! Don’t any of you who defend that man DARE complain about sexism, sexual violence, job discrimination or anything else until you put on your critical thinking caps and connect the dots. You’re all a sad lot of people.

  • howsthatworkingforya?

    How cares about being sexist what i want to know is why not michelle the best looking attorney period did i read the whole article.

  • howsthatworkingforya?

    It was inappropriate bc of michelle not the usa. Get it right folks

  • howsthatworkingforya?

    Glad im not married to you this isnt a everybody join in kinda thing lol# oneandonly

  • howsthatworkingforya?

    Who cares, sorry

  • Ms. Vee

    Obama appearing flirtatious was probably not the most appropriate thing to do considering his status as president. But its not that serious folks. It was a mere compliment to a woman that is undeniably pretty (especially for her age). Now citizens i urge you to focus on and complain about the policies by Obama that are actually impacting lives negatively.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    It must be exhausting being this aggrieved over another woman getting a compliment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Women’s Studies propaganda, people. When you start agreeing with with bitter white harpies that it’s sexist for a black man to call his black daughters beautiful, you’ve lost it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    That’s what this entire hullabaloo over nothing is about. Barack Obama likes black women. If you read his books, he obviously admires black beauty. His white college girlfriend said she knew he always wanted a black woman. He married a beautiful black woman. He tells his beautiful black daughters how lovely they are. And now the compliment to the African American attorney general. This pisses white women off because they know he’s not enamored with them. And for a group of women who are told from birth that they are the alpha and omega of femininity and beauty, well, that must feel like a slap across the face.

    It’s really pathetic to see black women getting offended over this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Calm down. f he doesn’t respond, it remains the top story and actual important things wont’ be talked about. He has a job to do. And if he has to make a fake apology to his friend, because a bunch of white women are jealous he’d they’d never catch his eye, so that he can do his job, hen that’s what he has to do.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Bingo! Besides did people not finish hearing the rest of his compliment? This is much to do about nothing; I see how some will see it as eye raising but this is far from a scandal. GASP! You can be a high powered woman in a position of authority and good looking in which others compliment you on it.

  • http://www.thinkaboutit-knowaboutit.com/ Danté

    Seriously?

  • http://www.thinkaboutit-knowaboutit.com/ Danté

    You seem intelligent, perhaps you can expound upon your theory and enlighten us?

  • Anthony

    I understand exactly what the criticism is. I work around many women as colleagues and students, and I am very mindful of speaking professionally to women in professional circumstances.
    The President’s remarks would have bothered me more if she were actually subordinate to him. I think Obama let his guard down because she is a black woman, his own age, that he knows personally. If she weren’t an actual friend, he would have never complimented her looks in a public venue.

  • Anthony

    More than anything else, Obama was guilty of getting too comfortable in public, talking to a friend who is a woman of color.

    I seriously doubt if he would have ever said such a thing to a white woman. I know I never compliment white women in a situation at work beyond something like “that’s a pretty scarf.” To be honest I don’t compliment white women’s looks as a matter of principle. It has been my experience that the average white woman already thinks a black man like me thinks she is beautiful, what would be the point in pumping up her self esteem even further?

  • Mademoiselle

    Personal experience, friend. I don’t need white people to tell me how to think. His race has nothing to do with my assessment. No one controls whether s/he grows up to be beautiful, tall, near-sighted, double-jointed, etc. So when giving compliments about someone’s accomplishments, traits that are beyond that person’s personal efforts shouldn’t be included in that list. Yet, through my keen sense of observation, I’ve noticed women’s beauty included in critiques about their professional progress often, much more so than men. My conclusion is that what I observed is what I consider sexist. Your comment could lead me to believe that the only reason you don’t want to see it as so is because white people vocalized that sentiment about a black man. Compliments don’t negate sexism, whether they come from a black man, a father, or the POTUS. Personal opinion sans propaganda.

  • But Really Tho

    Was he lying?

  • But Really Tho

    Why do you care?

  • But Really Tho

    You’re not Michelle and you don’t know the dynamic of their relationship. #OKBYE

  • Joy

    The whole thing has been blown waaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion. His comment was no big deal. We have become too sensitive (except) about the things that are really important. And this doesn’t come high on the list of important things that are happening in the world

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