De Niro apologizes for first lady joke

March 20, 2012 at 8:29 PM
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NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- Actor Robert De Niro has apologized for a joke with racial overtones he made at a New York fundraiser for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

"Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney," The Hollywood Reporter quoted De Niro as saying during his opening remarks at Monday night's $5,000-a-plate event, which Obama's wife, Michelle attended. "Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?"

CNN reported Obama's campaign press secretary Olivia Alair called the joke "inappropriate" Tuesday.

De Niro later issued a statement explaining he was trying to make a joke and never meant to offend anyone.

"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone -- especially the first lady," the 68-year-old "Raging Bull" and "Meet the Parents" star said.

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