Robert DeNiro: Too Soon For A White First Lady?
Last night at a fundraiser in New York City at which Michelle Obama, actor Robert DeNiro made a joke that has caused no small degree of controversy:
Actor Robert De Niro thrilled the crowd at a New York fundraiser headlined by first lady Michelle Obama when he listed the alternatives.
“Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” De Niro asked a star-studded crowd gathered in the backroom of Locanda Verde, a restaurant he owns on Greenwich Street in TriBeCa.
Someone in the crowd shouted, “No!” as De Niro quickly added, “Too soon, right?”
It didn’t take long for Newt Gingrich to chime in:
Newt Gingrich blasted actor Robert DeNiro for a racially themed joke during his introduction of first lady Michelle Obama at a fundraiser in New York City on Monday night, calling the comments “inexcusable.”
“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. “I think the country is ready for a new first lady, and he doesn’t have to describe it in racial terms.”
Gingrich went on to demand that President Obama apologize for the comments.
“What DeNiro said last night was inexcusable, and the president should apologize for him,” Gingrich said. “It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country. 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 as utterly and terribly unacceptable as what Robert DeNiro said.”
At least one conservative blogger seems to agree with Gingrich that DeNiro’s joke was racist, and now the Obama campaign has called the joke inappropriate, and it probably was. However, it seems pretty silly to me to call it racist. I get what DeNiro was doing here. Before President Obama was elected, there were people who wondered, openly, if America was “ready” for a black President. The joke was meant to turn that argument on its head, although why the focus on candidate’s spouses was necessary I don’t know. It wasn’t really funny and it wasn’t that good of a joke, but racist? Don’t be ridiculous.