Robert De Niro apologises for first lady quip
Actor Robert De Niro has apologised for a quip he made at a Democratic fundraiser that the US might not be ready for "a white first lady".
The Raging Bull star was introducing the First Lady, Michelle Obama, at an event in New York.
"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone - especially the first lady," he said.
Republican candidate Newt Gingrich called the remarks "inexcusable".
During his introduction at Monday's fundraiser, De Niro, 68, alluded to Mr Gingrich's wife, Callista.
"Callista Gingrich, Karen Santorum, Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady? Too soon, right?" he told the audience.
Mr Gingrich deemed the remark "divisive", and called on President Obama to apologise on the actor's behalf.
"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," Mr Gingrich said.
"I think the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn't have to describe it in racial terms."
Michelle Obama's press secretary said the joke was "inappropriate."
However, Ann Romney - wife of Republican candidate Mitt Romney - told Piers Morgan, on CNN, that she took the remark for what it was - "a joke".
"In politics the fastest way to get in trouble is make a joke. So I think Robert De Niro just learned that."