President Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize after referring to her as "the best-looking attorney general" during a Democratic fundraiser on Thursday.
Carney added that Obama and Harris were "old friends and good friends," and the president "did not in any way want to diminish" her professional accomplishments.
"He fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance," Carney continued.
The press secretary added that the president believed Harris "has done great work and is dedicated and tough and brilliant."
Courtesy Calif. Attorney General's Office
"She has been a remarkably effective leader as attorney general," Carney said. "She's a key player in the mortgage settlement which will help, you know, many, many middle-class families who are struggling to deal with the mortgage situation in this country."
Obama made the comment during a Democratic National Committee fundraising lunch in 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. "It's true, c'mon."
The comment came under heavy criticism from those who said the president's remark was sexist. The Republican National Committee questioned the remark in a post to Twitter.
“Not awkward and perfectly fine for him to say, right?” the RNC tweeted.