Dan Walters

Dan Walters
Observations on California and its politics
dwalters@sacbee.com
04/22/2015 – 7:43 AM

It’s always perilous for politicians to tell the truth, as President Barack Obama discovered when he commented on Kamala Harris’ good looks in 2013.

“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,” Obama told a fundraising event in San Francisco “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

“It’s true! C’mon,” he added, to laughter from the crowd.

Yes it is, but Obama took some heat for violating an unwritten rule of contemporary politics against mentioning a woman’s physical appearance.

That said, what else do we really know about Harris, even though she’s been California’s attorney general for four-plus years and is the odds-on favorite to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate next year?

Not much.

Harris has been oh-so-careful about polishing her public image, aligning herself only to actions with little or no political risk. For instance, she asked the courts to tell her whether she had to process a homophobic ballot measure, so no matter the outcome, she’s off the political hook.

Harris has also been very reluctant to face unscripted questioning by California reporters.

On one recent occasion, after an appearance in Silicon Valley, reporters tried to ask questions about the Senate but an aide shooed them away like pesky flies.

“No questions right now,” he insisted as Harris walked briskly away. “We have to get moving.”

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