Robert De Niro spoke at a fundraiser that featured Michelle Obama and made a joke that I think is rather funny, but it seems to be causing a minor uproar. Newt Gingrich is throwing quite a hissy fit about it. Here’s the joke:
Newt Gingrich is incensed about a joke by actor Robert DeNiro at a fundraiser attended by Michelle Obama for the president’s re-election, in which the Academy Award-winning star used the word “white” to describe the Republican field’s spouses.
“Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” DeNiro said. “Too soon, right?”
There’s nothing at all wrong about that joke. It’s clearly making fun of all the hand-wringing during the 2008 election about whether the country is ready for a black president. It’s even kind of clever. But leave it to Newt to get all melodramatic over it:
“I do want to say one thing, both on behalf of my wife and on behalf of Karen Santorum and on behalf of Ann Romney: I think that Robert DeNiro’s wrong,” Gingrich said, according to CNN. “I think the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn’t have to describe it in racial terms.”
After condemning DeNiro as “rich enough he probably doesn’t notice the price of gasoline,” and “successful enough he probably doesn’t notice the unemployment rate,” Gingrich continued to express outrage over the line.
“What DeNiro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country,” he said. “If people on the left want to talk about talk show hosts, 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.”
Unfortunately, a spokesperson for the First Lady has now said the joke was “inappropriate.” They should have told Newt to go pound sand. For crying out loud, Newt Gingrich is complaining about racial insensitivity? The guy who goes around calling Obama the “food stamp president”?