Jul 21, 2010 3:48 PM by Melissa Canone
WASHINGTON (AP) - An embarrassed White House apologized on
Wednesday to a black Agriculture Department employee who was ousted
for her remarks about race, saying the administration did not know
all the facts when she was fired.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the dismissal of
Shirley Sherrod an injustice and a mistake and said he was
apologizing for the "entire administration." He said Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack was trying to reach her to extend an apology.
"I accept the apology," Sherrod said on CNN after watching
Gibbs talk to reporters at a televised briefing. But she said the
apology took too long and she wasn't sure if she wanted her job
"I just don't know at this point, I don't know," she said,
adding that she would be surprised if Vilsack offered her the job.
Gibbs said Obama had been briefed as the situation developed.
"He talked about the fact that a disservice had been done, an
injustice had happened and, because the facts had changed, a review
of the decision based on those facts should be taken," Gibbs said.
Sherrod has said she submitted her resignation under pressure
from the White House. The Agriculture Department says it was
Vilsack's decision alone.
Sherrod was asked by department officials to resign on Monday
after conservative bloggers posted a video of her saying she didn't
initially give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24
years ago, when she was working for a farmers' aid group. Sherrod
says she used the story in her speech to the NAACP to promote
racial reconciliation and that the edited video distorted her
After a video of her full speech was posted online by the NAACP,
the White House called the Agriculture Department about the case
Tuesday night and it was agreed that her ouster should be reviewed.
Gibbs said people in the administration and outside of it acted
without all the facts.