TODAY   |  April 05, 2013

Was Obama’s ‘best-looking AG’ remark sexist?

The TODAY anchors sit down with Take Three guest Liza Minnelli to talk about the hottest topics of the day, including whether President Obama crossed a line when he said California Attorney General Kamala Harris was the “best-looking attorney seneral in the country.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> gst along with natalie morales and boy are we excited, look who is here sitting with us, the one and only liza minnelli .

>> oh, honey.

>> good morning.

>> is this you singing? "all the single ladies." it's your version of beyonce's song.

>> oh, boy. run step it's a good one.

>> we are so excited to have you here. we'll talk about your starring role on "smash" a little bit later.

>> all right.

>> i understand you were out on the town last night, you get out in new york city and you saw a show q kinky boots ."

>> if you're in new york you got to go to broadway and it was wonderful. i had the best time. it's really entertaining, it's interesting, and it's smart.

>> harvey finestein, cyndi cyndi lauper .

>> wrote it. cyndi saw me and started to cry. i said what's the matter? she said she was happy i was there.

>> i remember seeing you at kathie lee 's show.

>> sure.

>> you've always been so great supporting theater.

>> how is broadway doing right now? it feels like it's booming.

>> it is.

>> so many good shows.

>> something's happening and i'm thrilled because that's where i started, and to see people going to, there's nothing like it, you experience something different. it's different than any other thing, any other means of entertainment.

>> sure.

>> because you're a part of it.

>> the audience affects it every day.

>> completely.

>> did you have a preference film versus stage? did you like having that instant reaction from the audience?

>> i did, yes. and that's why i went to broadway first. i want to be an ice skater .

>> is that true?

>> i saw "bye-bye birdie" and i thought oh, maybe not.

>> we have an ice rink .

>> not anymore, fake knees, not with all of these fake parts. i have more false parts on me, going through the thing at the airport.

>> security?

>> things go off like i just say no it's okay, it's just --

>> all the parts. the pieces, the bits and pieces.

>> but they work.

>> we don't want to big time you liza but natalie and i had a photograph, just to be looking at a new cohost, that's honey booboo.

>> before america threatens, not even close, but we had a little fun with her. she was very up front.

>> i haven't seen much of it either.

>> you know, it's a guilty pleasure every once in a while .

>> i'm sure it 's wonderful .

>> fabulous.

>> have you seen honey booboo?

>> i have. my daughter has watched it. okay we've seen it, that's it.

>> an american obsession.

>> we were at discovery channel .

>> and we were there to talk about the special that we have coming up june 23rd where nick walenda, who is going to walk the tight rope over the grand canyon without a tether.

>> just going to walk the canyon on live television.

>> he showed willie a little bit what it's like walking across.

>> i don't think anybody will hold his hand. look at natalie doing it.

>> we made it.

>> about a six-inch drop there.

>> on the wire he's doing it, no the a board.

>> he's doing it on a cable across the grand canyon . incredible.

>> i'm pulling for you.

>> he's extremely confident. let's move on to our take two, getting a lot of attention, the president of the united states said yesterday of the attorney general of california pamela harris he said she is the best looking attorney general in the country. now that got some outrage, a lot of people thought it was offensive, thought it was objectifying to her achievements or any woman. liza , what do you think? do you think the president of the united states should be focused on the looks of the attorney general of california ?

>> i don't think he was. i think it was a compliment. i'm sure she's happy he said it. i'd be happy. i think it was just a normal thing for a man to say.

>> he said she's brilliant, dedicated, tough, she's exactly what you'd want anybody who is administrating the law, she also happens to be by far the best looking attorney general in the country.

>> i think that's swell.

>> you like it?

>> yeah, it's, it's amusing, and also very nice. i think --

>> it's not like he said she's smokin' hot.

>> right, but i guess some people are saying we're in a day and age where women especially of her position should be taken, given credit for what she's accomplished.

>> you can't say she's pretty?

>> politico writer as well who wrote well why are we becoming so concerned with being politically correct these days? you can't acknowledge a woman's good looks? it's ridiculous.

>> wait a minute, when this lovely woman gets up in the morning, and looks in the mirror and puts on her make yup and does her hair don't you think she wants to be attractive and to be thought of as attractive? she's not doing that for no reason.

>> folks on the other side of the aisle have said had that been a republican who made that comment that the people would have jumped all over it. so what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

>> it's an interesting debate. it certainly sparks a lot of talk and i think i mean as liza , i kind of feel like she has accomplished a lot. i don't think the president meant that in any way except for just saying oh, he gave her all the praise ahead of time and then at the end said by the way she happens to be a very good looking woman.

>> we're all against objectifying women.

>> i think we should objectify willie geist .

>> please do.

>> he's smokin' hot.

>> "people" magazine was that objectifying you?

>> yes, it was. let's go on a serious note to our take three, we are remembering roger ebert , the fabled film critic , died yesterday at the age of 70, he had a brave bout with cancer, of course siskel and ebert at the movies launched in 1975 , and roger ebert was writing film criticism up until the day he died, and truly one of the greatest, liza .

>> his blogs became so popular after his bout with thyroid cancer and throat cancer , and his salivary glands he lost that part of his jaw so he couldn't talk anymore as we saw in an interview i did with him two years ago but he continued to write up until his last day, his last blog in fact was so touching that he wrote after he discovered the cancer had returned and this was earlier this week he said he was going to take a leave of presence, instead of leave of absence, but he's certainly going to be missed. i don't think anybody went to the movies without thinking about what roger ebert thought about that movie.

>> you're right.

>> would you always watch siskel and ebert at the movies to get a sense of what you wanted to see and what you didn't and they had such a great spirited discussion. probably couldn't even happen today but they had a great discussion.

>> sometimes you saw both sides of the story, and sometimes you know, roger would like the actors, and the other wonderful man wouldn't talk about the actors but he liked the movie. so it was always interesting.

>> did he ever come down hard on you, liza ?

>> no, thank god.

>> i think if he were here he'd want us to read one of his reviews. here is what he thought of "ishatr." "it is a truly dreadful film, a lifeless massive lumbering exercise in failed comedy. this movie is a long, dry slog. it's not funny, it's not smart and it's interesting only in the way a traffic accident is interesting." that was in 1987 .

>> he didn't seem to like it very much.

>> no.

>> we could safe i had say ishtar was canned.