White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today offered an apology to Shirley Sherrod on behalf of the Obama administration.
He said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is trying to reach Sherrod as well, to offer his own apology and to “talk about their next steps.”
“I think without a doubt Ms. Sherrod is owed an apology. I would do so, certainly, on behalf of this administration,” Gibbs said.
“Members of this administration, members of the media, members of different political factions on both sides of this have all made determinations and judgments without a full set of facts,” he said.
Sherrod — who was watching the briefing from a CNN set — said she accepted the apology.
Gibbs maintained that the White House didn’t order Sherrod’s firing. He said President Obama was first told about the situation yesterday, and was briefed again today.
He also said that Vilsack’s job is safe.
Sherrod was asked to resign from her position as Georgia rural development director after a conservative blog posted a clip of her saying she had once discriminated against a white farmer. The USDA and the NAACP, which had originally condemned her comments, both backtracked when the full video — which showed Sherrod using the story of her own prejudice to illustrate the importance of overcoming prejudice — was released last night.