Another day, another sorry. This time it’s from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to the former head of the Agriculture Department’s rural development office in Georgia, Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod was fired on Monday evening (a/k/a, “asked to resign”) over a clip spotlighted by Andrew Breitbart in which she seemed to indicate discrimination against a white farmer 24 years ago. (In the full video, she goes on to discuss how working with the farmer taught her that all people must overcome their prejudices.)
Per the Washington Post, in his White House briefing today, Gibbs said:
The secretary is trying to reach her. I hope the secretary reaches her soon, and they have an opportunity to talk. The Secretary will apologize for the actions that have taken place over the past 24 to 36 hours. And on behalf of the administration, I offer our apologies.
By secretary, he means Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who started to backtrack from the firing in the early morning today after public outcry, saying that he’d “conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner.”
Since that time, President Obama has gotten involved, agreeing that the issue should be reviewed, and there seems a good chance that Sherrod will be offered her job back, though whether she actually wants it remains to be seen.
Gibbs also said,
I think everybody has to go back and look at what has happened over the past 24 to 36 hours, and ask ourselves how we got into this. How did we not ask the right questions? How did you all not ask the right questions? How did other people not ask the right questions?”
To Sherrod, the answer is simple: [The NAACP] got into a fight with the Tea Party, and all of this came out as a result of that,” she said.