Obama campaign: Robert De Niro’s joke ‘inappropriate’

In this photo provided by CBS, first lady Michelle Obama joins host David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show with David Letterman," Monday, March 19, 2012 in New York. It was her first visit to the show. (AP Photo/CBS, John Paul Filo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Actor Robert De Niro opened a fundraiser starring Michelle Obama by listing her Republican rivals and jokingly suggesting that America isn’t “ready for a white first lady.” Newt Gingrich was not amused. And the Obama campaign says the actor’s quip was inappropriate.

Campaigning in Louisiana, Gingrich on Tuesday called De Niro’s comment referring to race “inexcusable” and demanded an apology from President Barack Obama.

Obama didn’t apologize. But his campaign didn’t stand by the actor’s sense of humor, either.

Mrs. Obama’s campaign press secretary, Olivia Alair, said the joke was inappropriate.

Publicist Stan Rosenfield said De Niro wouldn’t respond to criticism of the actor’s joke at the New York fundraiser. Rosenfield called the remark “obvious satire.”

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