March 21st, 2012
10:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Ann Romney urges folks to lighten up

(CNN) - Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said Wednesday she laughed when she first heard that actor Robert De Niro had used her name in a controversial joke.

“I took it for what it was: a joke,” Romney said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” “We take everything so seriously.”

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Earlier in the day, De Niro apologized for making the quip at a fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. At the event, De Niro mentioned Ann Romney, as well as Callista Gingrich and Karen Santorum, then asked: “Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?"

Newt Gingrich quickly fired off on De Niro, calling on the president to apologize for his supporter’s remarks. The Obama campaign followed up saying the comment was “inappropriate.”

But Ann Romney was all smiles Wednesday night talking about De Niro and arguing that people need to be less serious.

“We’re all overreacting to so many things and making things so difficult, which means we have to watch every single word that comes out of our mouth. We can’t be spontaneous. We can’t be funny.”

She continued: “I'll tell you, in politics the fastest way to get in trouble is make a joke. So I think Robert De Niro just learned that.”

She also pointed to what she described as another, more recent overreaction: The frenzy over a comment made by one of her husband’s advisers Wednesday, comparing the campaign to an Etch A Sketch drawing toy that Romney could shake up and "start all over again" in the fall.

Republican and Democratic rivals alike used the comment to prove Romney would be all-too-willing to abandon his conservative principles in a head-to-head contest with Obama.

Romney downplayed the remark to reporters later Wednesday afternoon, saying in a brief answer that his adviser was simply referring to organizational changes, not policy changes.

His wife, however, called it like she saw it Wednesday night.

“These are the distractions! This is exactly what happens in a campaign,” she said, arguing once again the political world was being overly dramatic. “These are the just the frustrations you have to deal with.”

Morgan jokingly asked if the Romney campaign planned to make the adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, compose a written apology 100 times in an Etch a Sketch as punishment.

“I think that's a great idea,” Romney said, laughing. “We'll have him do that tomorrow.”

Also see:

Romney can't escape birth control questions in Illinois

Obama leads GOP in battleground Virginia

Rubio to headline major South Carolina GOP fundraiser

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: Ann Romney • Mitt Romney • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    She's right on Target. Good lesson for Michelle O.

    March 22, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  2. Marie MD

    Lighten up? Your husband is so stiff and he wouldn't know a joke if it hit him on that hair gel he uses.
    Unfortunately, it IS true. He flip flops more than a beaten to death halibut.
    For a party who hates women they sure use them (AK bimbo, the blake from MN, the crazy woman in NV, the ugly broad from AZ, the witch from DE, and the list goes on) when it's convenient to them and they want to make themselves more human.

    March 22, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  3. Bob

    Blaming reporters and now blaming the Internet is not going to do it for your husband's poor performece, Ann. Just ask Mc Cain.

    March 22, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  4. clarke

    I agree, people need to lighten up a bit. They seem to blow everything up into a big story that gives air time.

    March 22, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It is a shame that Ann is not running instead of Mittens. Mittens has told more lies this campaign than Newt, Rick and Ron combined. While Mittens did not cause the Bush/republican economic near depression, he wants to return to those same failed Bush policies. By the way, President Obama did not make the Bush deep recession worse, he ended it.

    March 22, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  6. Dave

    Santorum is an etch a sketch. Remember, he endorsed Romney as a true conservative in 2008, but now says he is a liberal. Gingrich is no different. He loves working with Nancy Pelosi. Neither candidate can stop Romney. Their egos are hurting the GOP.

    March 22, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  7. Anthony

    The wrong Romney is running.

    On the other hand, Romney's adviser would not have made the "Etch a Sketch" comment if his campaign were not concerned about the positions Romney was forced to take to win the Republican nomination. A politician or his/her campaign would not make jokes about changing positions during the course of a campaign. This is especially true for Romney, who is trying to shed his reputation as a flip-flopper who changes positions for political expediency. As the De Niro incident illustrates, it is not a good idea to joke about something if there is a chance that people will take the joke seriously.

    Romney will be the first Republican nominee since Nixon who cannot rely on a Southern strategy, because Republicans in the South hate him. He also will be the first nominee of any party whose campaign declares in public, regardless of whether it was serious, that it would reset/reboot the campaign for the general election. At least the campaign is being honest. The campaign is telling conservatives what is coming in the fall campaign. Romney will go back to who he was: a moderate politician who changes positions for political expediency. Resistance is futile.

    March 22, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  8. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that this kind of thing happens all the time. I don't know why people find this so distracting. The candidates need to stick to their message and minimize the flubs and faux pas.

    March 22, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  9. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Your husband is an outright lier. Obama/ biden 2012 the only way forward.

    March 22, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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