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First lady aide: De Niro joke 'inappropriate'

Robert De Niro's joke that it's "too soon" for another white first lady isn't drawing laughs from Michelle Obama's team.

“We believe the joke was inappropriate,” Olivia Alair, the first lady's campaign press secretary, said Tuesday.

At a fundraiser at a New York restaurant he owns, the actor introduced Obama by saying: "Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?" The crowd roared, the pool reporter at the event said, as De Niro added, "Too soon, right?"

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday morning criticized De Niro for bringing race into his discussion of first ladies. "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, CNN reported. "I think the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn't have to describe it in racial terms."

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