Robert De Niro's joke about race and politics has not gone down well in the Obama camp, prompting Michelle Obama's spokesperson to brand his humor as "inappropriate." On Monday night (March 19, 2012), De Niro opened a New York fundraising event, featuring Michelle Obama and as part of his speech, he listed the names of the women married to the Republican presidential candidates. After naming "Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney," De Niro quipped "Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?"

According to USA Today, the assembled crowd "roared in approval," but his remarks have not been so well received in other quarters. Newt Gingrich was quick to complain and on Tuesday, called for President Obama to apologize on De Niro's behalf, saying "What De Niro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong." De Niro himself has apologized for the off-hand remark, saying "My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone - especially the first lady." Although nobody present at the fundraiser appears to have complained, De Niro's comments have certainly caused a stir in the world of U.S. politics.

The Taxi Driver star, now 68 has long been a supporter of the Democratic Party. In 2000, he supported Al Gore and in 2004, he rallied for John Kerry and 2008, he supported Barack Obama at a rally in New Jersey, before Super Tuesday.