Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called on President Barack Obama Tuesday to apologize for Hollywood icon Robert De Niro’s comment that the country “isn’t ready for a white first lady.”
DeNiro made the remark at a New York City fundraiser on Monday attended by Michelle Obama. “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?" De Niro asked a cheering crowd of Democrats. "Too soon, right?"
But Gingrich hit back, reports CNN
. "What De Niro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him," Gingrich said at a rally in Shreveport, La. “It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country."
Gingrich compared De Niro’s comment to the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh calling a university student a “prostitute” after she testified before a House panel on why contraceptives should be covered by health insurance.
“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,” said the former House speaker, adding that he thought Michelle Obama and his rivals’ wives were all “fine ladies.”
The first lady’s campaign press secretary has already described the actor’s remark as “inappropriate.”
But Gingrich said the president should also condemn the remarks, saying De Niro should not concentrate on the wives of presidential candidates.
“This is not about the first lady, it’s about the president,” he said.
“De Niro is rich enough he probably doesn't notice the price of gasoline. He's successful enough he probably doesn't notice the unemployment rate. As a Hollywood actor, he might well be shortsighted enough he doesn't understand what it might do to our children and our grandchildren."
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