By Justin Sink - 03/20/12 02:54 PM EDT
“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 De Niro’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 De Niro said.”
Gingrich was referring to outrage over comments made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who referred to a Georgetown law student who testified in favor of an Obama administration rule requiring employers to provide free contraceptive access as a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Limbaugh later apologized, and Obama called the student to offer support.
A spokeswoman for the first lady told NBC News on Tuesday that De Niro’s comments were “inappropriate.”
Gingrich pivoted to a discussion of his energy proposal, arguing that wealthy actors such as De Niro support the president because they don’t understand the implications of higher gas prices.
“This is not about the first lady,” Gingrich said. “It’s about the president. That’s where De Niro missed the whole point. DeNiro 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 the Hollywood actor, he might well be shortsighted enough he doesn’t understand what it might do to our children and our grandchildren.”