CNN host Piers Morgan on Thursday explained actor Robert De Niro's joke about "a white first lady" to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and asked if Gingrich was being "overly pious."

"This is the whole point," he told the presidential candidate. "The whole point of De Niro's comment, his joke, was precisely because many, many people were saying that kind of thing very seriously about Michelle Obama."

At an Obama fundraiser in New York City on Monday night, De Niro said: “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

Gingrich said the joke was “inexcusable” and "utterly, totally unacceptable." He demanded that President Obama apologize for the comment.

"If it had been a conservative talk radio show host, who said exactly the same thing but reversed the racial reference, the left would have exploded with rage," Gingrich told Morgan.

"But if its one of their own, and after all its only attacking Republicans, that's perfectly appropriate because anybody on the left -- as Bill Maher has proven -- can say anything they want about anyone and still give a million dollars," he added. "After all who are we to judge those on the left who are so morally superior that their use of language is always correct."

Watch video, courtesy of CNN, below: