Robert DeNiro Says Joke, Attacked By Newt Gingrich, Was “Not Meant To Offend”

The GOP presidential candidate became righteously indignant today over a joke that DeNiro told at a fundraiser for President Obama, which Michelle Obama attended. “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” DeNiro said, according to web site Talking Points Memo. “Too soon, right?” Cue Gingrich, speaking today in Shreveport, La.: “What DeNiro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him.” He added that “the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn’t have to describe it in racial terms.” The former House Speaker also drew an analogy to the attacks on Rush Limbaugh, who recently apologized for calling law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” when she testified in favor of employer health plan payments for contraceptives. “If people on the left want to talk about talk show hosts,” Gingrich said, “then everybody in the country should hold the president accountable when someone at his event says something that is utterly and terribly unacceptable as what Robert DeNiro said.” The star of Raging Bull and The Godfather 2 told TPM that his remarks “although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone —- especially the First Lady.” Michelle Obama called the joke “inappropriate.”

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