Quote of the Day: Robert De Niro and a White First Lady

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The lauded actor makes a rude comment about the GOP candidates' wives at an Obama fundraiser in New York City.

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Reuters

Robert De Niro has delivered some great lines in his time. None of them came at a fundraiser with First Lady Michelle Obama in New York City Monday night. According to a pool report, here's what he said:

"Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?" The crowd roared and someone yelled "no!" as De Niro asked, "Too soon, right?"

Maybe you had to be there? Charitably, it was just intended as a satire on the question of whether America was ready for a black president. Regardless, it's a rude statement about the three women, who, however much De Niro may disagree with their husbands' policies, seem to be respectable, good people. (The pool reporter also mentions that the actor mentioned keeping Obama as president "until 2006," so maybe the open bar was a little too open.)

De Niro's remarks are racking up condemnations this morning. The First Lady's spokeswoman said the crack was "inappropriate." Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich has fired back, demanding that Barack Obama himself personally apologize for De Niro's remark. "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, according to CNN. "I think the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn't have to describe it in racial terms."

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that everyone in the country was ready for a black First Lady.

De Niro, presumably, will respond, "You talkin' to me?"

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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