Following criticism for referring to Kamala Harris as "the best-looking attorney general in the country," President Obama has apologized, reports the New York Times.

He praised Ms. Harris as being "brilliant," adding, "she is dedicated and she is tough" before commenting on her looks.

There was a quick reaction on social media sites, with some people accusing Mr. Obama of being sexist and others defending his comment as harmless.

But the president's aides apparently knew the potential for political damage. Soon after Air Force One returned Mr. Obama from his West Coast fund-raising trip, he called Ms. Harris and apologized, according to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary …

A spokesman for Ms. Harris, Gil Duran, said in a statement on Friday: "The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday, and she strongly supports him."

Read more at the New York Times.