De Niro’s “White First Lady” Joke Draws Gingrich Demand for Apology

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March 21 2012 7:28 PM

De Niro’s “White First Lady” Joke Draws Gingrich Demand for Apology

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(Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks to an election night party March 13, 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama.)

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich finished behind Ron Paul in the Illinois primary, but the candidate is focusing on something more important right now: inappropriate jokes by media elites.

Gingrich is targeting actor Robert DeNiro after a quip the famous actor made at a Manhattan fundraiser he and his wife Grace Hightower hosted for Michele Obama. DeNiro, who is famous for his media shyness, listed the republican candidate’s wives to the crowd at his restaurant, and joked “do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

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Gingrich seized on what he called the “divisive” comment, which seemed to lampoon questions during Obama’s 2008 campaign about the possibility first African-American president, and called for an apology from the president himself. A spokesperson for Michelle Obama admitted the joke was “inappropriate.”

Of course, with Gingrich’s campaign currently on deathwatch after poor showings in recent primaries, it may also be a distraction.

Video produced by Paca Thomas

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.