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Ann Romney Urges Folks to Lighten Up

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(Photo credit: CNN)

By Ashley Killough, 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.”

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.”