Thursday, July 22, 2010

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Obama apologizes to Sherrod

President Barack Obama called Shirley Sherrod Thursday to apologize for her dismissal and urge her to accept a promotion, but the Agriculture Department official, who was forced out on unfounded charges of racism, kept mum on her future plans.

Obama had tried to call her twice on Wednesday night but couldn’t connect with Sherrod, according to an administration official. West Wing staffers were attempting to call her again when she returned the president’s calls at about 12:35 p.m.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sherrod and Obama talked for about seven minutes, and “the president expressed his apology about the events of the past several days.” Obama also told the 62-year-old grandmother that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “had been extremely sincere” when he publicly apologized to Sherrod and offered to rehire her.

Vilsack forced Sherrod to resign on the basis of a heavily edited Web video posted on a conservative website that purportedly showed Sherrod confessing to reverse discrimination. After Vilsack’s apology Wednesday, Sherrod took to the airwaves to say she’d appreciate a call from the president.
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