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Shirley Sherrod declines USDA job

By Ed O'Keefe

Shirley Sherrod and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at USDA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

By Ed O'Keefe and Krissah Thompson

Updated: 4:35 p.m. ET
Ousted Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod said Tuesday that she will not return to the department in the new role.

"I need to take a break from some of all I've had to deal with in the last few weeks," Sherrod said at a hastily arranged news conference at USDA headquarters. She said she hopes to maintain "some kind of relationship" with the department.

Sherrod met at USDA headquarters in Washington with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who first hinted last week that they would soon meet.

"I think I can be helpful to him if I just take a little break and can be more helpful in the future," she said.

The job offers included deputy director Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which would have been based in Washington, and the other was a senior position in USDA’s Georgia office. She turned both down.

Sherrod looked tired at a joint press conference with Vilsack, who she said had pressed her hard to return to the agency. She said she wanted to take time for her family, and to answer the thousands of letters she has received in the weeks since the ordeal began.

“I only lasted 11 months but I did enjoy the work and would like to see that work continue,” Sherrod said of her position with the government, which ended abruptly in July when she said she got a call from USDA Undersecretary Cheryl Cook.

Sherrod said that Cook told her that the White House wanted her to quit, and Cook asked Sherrod to pull off to the side of the road and e-mail a letter of resignation. The ordeal apparently left a sour taste.

“I just don’t think that at this point I can do that,” Sherrod said of a return to USDA. “I need to take a break from some of all that I’ve had to deal with. I look forward to some type of relationship with the department in the future. We do need to work on issues of discrimination and racism in this country.”

Cook remains with USDA and is not expected to face disciplinary action, according to a senior aide. Cook is “a valued member of the team,” said the aide, and “was carrying out direction given to her” by Vilsack.

Sherrod said Tuesday that she had forgiven Vilsack and understands that the department will implement new procedures for the treatment of employees. But she doesn't want to be the one to test the new procedures.

“The secretary did push really hard for me to stay and work from inside but I look at what happened to me," Sherrod said. "I know he’s apologized and I accepted it. I know a new process is in place but I don’t want to test it. I think I can be helpful to him and the department if I just take a little break.”

Vilsack met with Sherrod in his office for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning during which Vilsack made his final failed attempt to woo her back, according to aides familiar with the meeting. The pair also discussed Sherrod’s work in Georgia and she shared stories from the five weeks since her resignation. Pearlie Reed, assistant secretary for departmental management, and Joe Leonard, assistant secretary for civil rights, joined the conversation for about 45 minutes.

Vilsack shared with Sherrod the findings of an internal review of the events leading up to her July 19th resignation.

“It starts with the responsibility that I have to take personally for making sure that instructions that are given to staff are clear and complete and comprehensive,” Vilsack said at a press conference after the meeting.

USDA lawyers who conducted the review issued five recommendations (summarized below):

1.) The department should follow existing resignation protocol and review all relevant facts before making a decision.

2.) All senior officials related to a decision should be consulted before Vilsack makes any final decisions.

3.) Officials should use courtesy and respect when interacting with political appointees about performance issues and give them a chance to respond.

4.) Senior officials should regularly inform others of updates to their contact information and "priority information" should be quickly shared with senior staffers.

5.) The department should review the travel schedules of senior officials to ensure enough of them are in Washington to help avoid making hasty decisions. Vilsack was on a two-day tour of Ohio on the day Sherrod resigned; his chief of staff, Karen Ross, was visiting family in Tennessee.

"I have accepted all of these recommendations and asked that they be implemented immediately," Vilsack said Tuesday on the USDA blog. "I know that they will help us build a more inclusive and deliberative decision-making environment and prevent similar mistakes from occurring again at USDA."

RELATED: Vilsack e-mails USDA staffers about Sherrod

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 24, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Military bands on Gates's chopping block?
Next: Vilsack e-mails USDA staffers about Sherrod


Get off the stage Shirley. Your 15 minutes are up.

Obama is simply not going to invite you to the White House to chat or for you to lecture him.

It is over.

Posted by: mlemac | August 24, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Sniff sniff, they didn't kiss my (censored) proper.....

Posted by: theidahokid | August 24, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Of course.

Old Shirley wants a job at the White House so that she can enrich herself like all other Obama buddies.

Posted by: Ruhu | August 24, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | August 24, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Now comes the law suite

Posted by: MikeS651 | August 24, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Time to realize the biggest earning potential you'll ever had...

Book deals, signings, paid speeches, etc...

Posted by: 4thFloor | August 24, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The White House and the Secretary of Agriculture have much to explain in this matter. They used questionable information to make a judgement against a long time employee and they demanded a resignation without a face-to-face meeting to discuss the performance and supposed bad acts. That is contrary to every human resource mandate of the government. You don't fire someone on an allegation, you must have proof.

With all that she has been through, she probably does need more time to come out of the panic mode that has ruled her life. She was in a good position for herself and the department, but she was not offered a return to her old job. One must ask, WHY?

Considering all that has gone on, she should be allowed to name the position to which she would return. And Mr. Breitbart should be brought up on charges of fraud and slander, at the very least. He is a blight on humanity and should be branded as such. Fox Noise should also be fined or charged as an accomplise in the promotion of this fraudulent report against this lady. Rupert has millions, so what would it bother him to pay a hefty fine? Not at all. He just bought the Republican Governors for a Million, so we know he has the dough.

Posted by: ronjeske | August 24, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Ever so typical of the racists who troll the comments page to attack Sherrod for being "uppity." I'm sure you'd all be happy to have her scrub your floors and cook your dinners, righ mlmac?

Posted by: cllr | August 24, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod was victimized. There is no doubt that the video aired was taken out of context and I understand why she wants to sue Mr. Breitbart. I would sue him too!

The press has done an admirable job pointing the finger in one direction. In my opinion however, there seems to be something lacking. Any employer (in this case the Agricultural Department and the White House) has an obligation to properly investigate allegations of wrong doing rather that acting, or in this case re-acting, to the information at hand. Ms. Sherrod’s employer failed this obligation miserably and forced her to resign based on limited information and without a proper investigation. The employer is as culpable as the conservative Web sites and other news organizations that aired the edited clip.

Posted by: Bockscar | August 24, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod's ego is getting the best of her.

She needs to get off the cross, we need the wood.

Posted by: Jayne | August 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I watched the whole notorious NAACP speech. While it's true the remarks alluding to race hatred were indeed taken out of context in a misleading fashion, it's clear from watching rhe whole thing that she has moved beyond race hatred only to end up in class hatred. Perhaps an improvement, but surely not the kind of personal beliefs appropriate for a USDA worker...

Posted by: zorrod1 | August 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry this happened to Mrs. Sherrod but this story is over. So we need no further reporting. People are losing everything and we take time to report things like this. I know for a fact many blacks are just as racist as whites. Even though the video was taken out of context. Please, do not put this lady on any television programs as I will not be watching. I am concerned about all American's not just one.

Posted by: RestoreAmerica | August 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

What seems to be lost in the shuffle is that Ms. Sherrod suffered only one day of embarassment before she was quickly and totally exonerated. She appears to be willing to milk this thing for far more that it's worth.

Posted by: Jayne | August 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Who cares?

Obama keeps dragging her out as a diversion to his failed policies, inept management and incompetent leadership.

Posted by: rplat | August 24, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod deserves our respect. We should take our lead from the couple whose farm she helped save so many years ago. As to the right wingnut who edited the video to dupe his viewers into thinking Ms. Sherrod is a racist, and as to FOX that aired the doctored video without adequate newschecking, it is difficult to understand why viewers would not be calling them on the carpet for misleading them. This type of behavior casts doubt on everything else they say -- or it should. This is a much bigger issue than Shirley Sherrod. For her, though, I hope she takes all the time she needs to recover and make decisions about her future. I do hope she returns to government -- we need her voice of reason.

Posted by: CLK4 | August 24, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This decision was already done previously by Obama himself in the Prof. Gates- Cambridge police incident where Obama said he doesn't know the facts but siad anyway that the Cambridge police acted stupidly which forced Obama to have the famous "Beer Summit". How stupid could Obama be.

Posted by: mahalapril | August 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Jesus, this was like "The Decision" with LaBron James.

Posted by: mitlen | August 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, Shirley. You don't need those wimpy creeps. You had nothing to prove; they did. You've gone out with your dignity intact, more than this Administration will be able to say.

Posted by: farhorizons | August 24, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Barry will fire Vilsack and give his job to Shirley.

Posted by: jemvbcnyc | August 24, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hope she sues the hell out of racist weenie Breitbart.

Posted by: solsticebelle | August 24, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I would sue, "Andrew Breitbart" for losing mky job and sprerading lies of myself over the internet, which has juristprudence at this point. if I was Mr. breibert, I would get a GOP lawyer to protect my exposed rear for inciting a racial riot over a lie.

Posted by: patmatthews | August 24, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

There are a number of disturbing issues with the Sherrod incident. Yes Tom Vilsack screwed up, for which he has completely humbled himself in ongoing apologies. Yes the White House screwed up by chiming in where it did not belong, only to exacerbate the situation. Obama can apologize all he wants, but he can forget it. It has never came out why Shirley Sherrod was never offered her old position back, with perhaps a pay raise to help salve the wounds. What is most disturbing is that Shirley Sherrod is going to play this to the hilt. She has been offered several positions and has declined. In the beginning I, as most Americans, was highly aggravated at Vilsack and Obama. Now not so much. Anymore. It is clear where Sherrod is going with this whole fiasco. No more sympathy from me. No wrongful termination, they tried to make it right and Sherrod has declined. It is on her now. Sherrod is now completely in it for herself, to get as much publicity as she can for the book and speaking deals. At one time she was the victim/hero. Now she is just another Washington player. She lost my respect and Vilsack has gained some. Get real Shirley and get a frigging job. I am sick and tired of hearing about this and it is now getting a lot more ink than it deserves. The Post needs to place this story somewhere near the obituaries.

Posted by: garypierce1 | August 24, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I really like this woman. She’s got the strength of character to not sell out even when it would benefit her financially, socially and perhaps politically. Not too many folks would be willing to “call out” any sitting president (whether that president is, right, left or center) on his lack of familiarity with the suffering of any minority group, especially the continued suffering of African Americans everywhere, but particularly in the South. Though, I do know a lot of great white folks in the South who work hard to change this abomination (btw... I too am white). I hope she runs for office… anywhere and any type. We need people like this in government. Sue Shirley Sue and use Breitbart's retirement fund and home to run for office.

Posted by: lakefamilyresearch | August 24, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

In spite of all my years on this planet since the beginnings of WWII, I am still amazed at the double standard with which closet racists and sexists express their cynicism.

If the lady in question had been Young, White, blonde and attractive;

1. The original incident would never have happened.

2. The farmer would have still benefitted.

3. There would never have been a speech in front of the NAACP and if there had been, the subject would have been completely different.

4. She would not have been fired.

5. If she had been fired, the cynics would be on her side.

Think about that you cynics.

You probably think that you are all good Christians.

If you are, I suggest you re-read the scripture about;``Ye without sin among you`


Posted by: victorcraig27 | August 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's called 'integrity,' America. Try a slice. And be prepared to dine alone.

Posted by: ChatNoir | August 24, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What a shame....she really would have fit right in with the Obama administration....what losers.

Posted by: thatsright2 | August 24, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Good for you, Ms. Sherrod. Don't let anyone rush you/pressure you into accepting a job so THEY can feel better about their inappropriate actions.
I'm so pleased at your decision, and my respect for you and your grace under fire are much enhanced. Yes, I know one has to be able to afford not to work, but many times some of us allow others to convince us we HAVE to work--and it's usually about providing THEM their feel-good moment. Good show, and Godspeed! I know your future is bright and you'll not only survive: you'll thrive. From one of your many supporters.

Posted by: luvzkidz | August 24, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Lets just wait and see on this one. I believe a brand new position will just happen to open up that she will be ideally suited for. Of course after the lawsuits, books and tv apperances.

Posted by: ren51 | August 24, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Can you blame her? Trust is broken.

Posted by: hakafos44 | August 24, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Sad but true Chat Noir!

Posted by: hakafos44 | August 24, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, racist middle America. Blame the victim. What you're saying is, if you were so insulted, you would just suck it up and return to work, and not harbor any ill feelings. Because you're such fine, calm, understanding people.

No, you would be on a right wing nut job media circuit tour in no time flat. Well, at least we'll get to find out what assets Mr. Brietbart has (soon to be "had") in the upcoming defamation of character law suit.

Posted by: usblues1 | August 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

she has conducted herself with grace, dignity and true maturity thoughout this. she deserves respect and admiration.

the only good thing to come out of this is she now has a platform from which to achieve greater goals. i see no self-aggrandizement in any of this.

she stands as a moral leader.

Posted by: jbmeyers | August 24, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Book deal, talk show deals, she doesn't need a real job.

Posted by: tgalysh1 | August 24, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Lets just wait and see on this one. I believe a brand new position will just happen to open up that she will be ideally suited for. Of course after the lawsuits, books and tv appearances.

Posted by: ren51 | August 24, 2010 11:44 AM |

That's the American way. She hinted at it during her press conference.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | August 24, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It is very sad to see how easily the antics of the extreme right wingers have pushed the administrations buttons and evoked a response and result which I am sure they are very pleased with and proud of. I believe Ms Sherrod is making the right choice. Bureaucratic prejudice and racial distrust is still very prominent in Washington DC and in other governmental entities. And for anyone to take on that mind-set, such as Anita Hill tried to do is an enormous, painstaking, sometimes very futile effort. People of color more often lose those noble efforts than do white people. At what cost would Ms Sherrod take a position within the marble tower which so adeptly and savagely threw her to the proverbial wolves of press and public. It is better to maintain one's integrity rather than acquiesce in trade to sooth a bureaucrats discomfort.

Posted by: Prognosticator | August 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

She's holding out for a job at the White House, a book deal, a speaking tour, or, better yet...

A consulting position to the White House.

She's still holding out.

Posted by: postfan1 | August 24, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The damage has been done. She was smart not to take that job back. She's a bright, well-educated woman and I'm sure she'll attract new opportunities.

Posted by: Artisan1 | August 24, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I confess that I also was horrified at what I saw as the clumsiness and stupidity of Breitbart in ‘doctoring’ a tape to make a supposedly innocent woman look guilty. I have been as guilty of haste to judgment of Breitbart as the Dept. Of Agriculture was of Ms. Sherrod.
The real purpose for Breitbart’s release was to expose one of the most shocking examples of corruption in the federal government – a little known legal case called “Pigford v. Glickman”.

“In 1997, 400 African-American farmers sued the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that they had been unfairly denied USDA loans due to racial discrimination during the period 1983 to 1997.” The case is entitled “Pigford v. Glickman” and in 1999, the black farmers won their case. The government agreed to pay each of them as much as $50,000 to settle their claims.

But then on February 23, 2010, something shocking happened in relation to that original judgment.
In total silence, the USDA agreed to release more funds to “Pigford”. The amount was a staggering $1.25 billion. This was because the original number of plaintiffs – 400 black farmers – had now swollen in a class action suit to include a total of 86,000 black farmers throughout America.
There was only one teensy problem. The USA doesn’t have 86,000 black farmers. According to accurate and totally verified census data, the total number of black farmers throughout America is only 39,697.
Well, gosh – how on earth did 39,697 explode into 86,000 claims? And how did $50,000 explode into $1.25 billion? Well, you just have to ask the woman who not only spearheaded this case because of her position in 1997 at the “Rural Development Leadership Network” but whose family received the highest single payout (approximately $13 million) from that action – Shirley Sherrod.
Oops again.
Yes, it appears that Ms. Sherrod had just unwittingly exposed herself as the perpetrator of one of the biggest fraud claims in the United States – a fraud enabled solely because she screamed racism at the government and cowed them into submission. And it gets even more interesting.

Ms. Sherrod has also exposed the person who aided and abetted her in this race fraud. As it turns out, the original judgment of “Pigford v. Glickman” in 1999 only applied to a total of 16,000 black farmers.
But in 2008, a junior Senator got a law passed to reopen the case and allow more black farmers to sue for funds. The Senator was Barack Obama.
The law was passed in dead silence, the woman responsible for spearheading it was an obscure USDA official; American taxpayers did not realize that they had been forced to pay out more than $1.25 billion to settle a race claim. But Breitbart knew and resulted in the entire world discovering the existence of this corrupt financial judgment. Sherrod's cry of ‘racism’ to the media has thrown the spotlight on herself – and her corruption. Yes, she fits right into Obama's corrupt administration!

Posted by: Jack81 | August 24, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Good for Ms. Sherrod. Why wasn't she offered her old job back? What a shame!

Posted by: ddcook2 | August 24, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod has been fighting for poor farmers for decades. Thousands of Black farmers are still waiting on the $1.2 Billion settlement money from discrimination by USDA and federal agencies. Here is where the justice and restitution money can easily come from:

Pull the $1.2 Billion for restitution from the annual $15~20 Billion USDA Feedstock and Cotton Subsidies to Rich Farming Companies. That’s $150~200 Billion over 10 years to Rich farming conglomerates while victims of decades of abuse and discrimination cannot get a dime.

Farm Subsidy Database:®name=UnitedStatesFarmSubsidySummary

Recipients of Total USDA Subsidies to farms in United States totaled $15,410,000,000 in 2009;

America borrows money from China, to pay Big/Rich Agriculture Companies, and then pay Tribute/Penalty to Brazil because this practice places all other Exports and Jobs at risk.

U.S. government has been paying cotton growers more than $3 billion per year since 1991, with most of the largess going to big agribusiness in the South.

Posted by: Airborne82 | August 24, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Shirley and her husband would rather bring a lawsuit, which is what they've done in the past. I've seen the whole video and believe she (and her husband) are racists.

Go home Shirley, you've had your 15 minutes plus some.

There must be other news......

Posted by: Christian1941 | August 24, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

VILSACK needs to go. There is no excuse for what he did to Sherrod and it reflects poorly on Obama that Vilsack is still the Sec of Agriculture.

Vilsack you JA please leave.

Posted by: KAT70BOS | August 24, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh God, who cares? Why are you printing this crap O'Keefe?

Posted by: wadeb123 | August 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

We don't give a damn if you come back or not. I guess the 15 million tax dollars that you awarded your family farm while you were in office is enough for you to live on.

Posted by: aagarwal190 | August 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod was the VICTIM in this case. No doubt about it.

Posted by: KAT70BOS | August 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

As a Caucasian American, I find so many of the responses on this article to be highly racist. This saddens me. Have we learned so little? Where is compassion? Where is respect? Where is fairness?

Had the same facts been applied to a Caucasian American, the responses would look quite different. Nothing should look different based on race, ethnicity or religion. The founding premise of this country is built upon such freedoms.

Open your minds, people. Be kind to one another. This woman is entitled to do whatever she pleases, just as the Palins are. She can take a job, leave it or create a new path for herself. That's her decision and that's American freedom.

Posted by: bernadettemurray2 | August 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

This may end up being the strange case of Shirley Sherrod. She was wronged, but also tried to milk this to play in the big game. Having been presented with a role in the big game, that is, a somewhat high profile job, maybe despite the vindication it presented, she also caught a glimpse of the costs of playing...she'll get trotted out from time to time to make speeches, resolve thorny issues...

So I'll leave her alone, spending more time with family seems like a wise decision

Posted by: jhtlag1 | August 24, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I do not blame Sharrod for not coming back after the way she was treated. No wonder we don't have smart people in leadership positions.

Posted by: KAT70BOS | August 24, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Book deal and speeches? Hey wingnuts, not every woman who doesn't want her job back acts like the wh_re, Sarah Palin. She quit her job, remember? And decided to cash in on her unwarranted popularity like the reality show star she portrays. Only in American can a dummy like that get $100K speaking fees.

Sherrod didn't want her job back - for good reason. I don't think anybody would want to have a job fire them for suspect reasoning without an investigation (a gov't job?) only to go right back. I don't care if it's a day later that everything comes to light and she's vindicated. How do you trust those people again? They were willing to ruin your life without so much as verifying the facts or asking you your side of the story once. Once is all it takes to lose trust.

Anyway, is a lawsuit coming? Absolutely. Breitbart has admitted to using the tape as a way to get back at the NAACP for making a resolution against the racist elements of the teabaggers, which I guess Breitbart took to mean ALL OF THEM. The fact that the tape was edited to fit his agenda doesn't help his cause, especially because it worked and got an overreaction leading to her termination. Doesn't help that it's the USDA with their past racist behavior doing this to a black woman.

Oh well.

Posted by: fbutler1 | August 24, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

bernadettemurray2, which church do you preach in?

Posted by: aagarwal190 | August 24, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Victim, Shmicktim! This woman is a joke. She's enjoying her 15 minutes of fame on the US stage. Open your eyes, people! This woman is a hard-core racist - and she always has been! You poor saps on this site who are preaching "brotherly and sisterly love." You look really, really stupid!

Posted by: georges2 | August 24, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

all those cowards crying racism, eff off.

Posted by: aagarwal190 | August 24, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

From the story: "... she got a call from USDA Undersecretary Cheryl Cook ... Cook asked Sherrod to pull off to the side of the road and e-mail a letter of resignation..."

This is just contemptible: "Pull over and quit!" No investigation of whether the allegations are even true? I'm sorry Sherrod didn't refuse to quit and invoke all the protections of the Civil Service personnel system. I'm not surprised that she doesn't want to go back.

Posted by: tourist011 | August 24, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sharrod for Vice President in 2012.

Posted by: KAT70BOS | August 24, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod wants some more public but-kissing and a sweet "consulting" job in return for not suing.

Posted by: spamsux1 | August 24, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Mrs. Sherrod would travel to D.C. to turn down the job offer. Why bother?? I wish her well anyway.

Posted by: TooManyPeople | August 24, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

If you don't know your history you are bound to repeat it. If either the Secretary or the President had one of their many staff members look at the history of Ms Sherrod this debacle would have been avoided. Even more shameful was the ignorance of the NAACP leadership. Ms Sherrod's father having been murdered by an unrepremanded known white male killer, her husband having been involved in the fight for Black Civil Rights (among others) and Ms. Sherrod's own actions as an employee are enough for them to have given pause. Fear of some of the white garrulous humanoid heads of radio and television is laughable. Anyone in public life who tiptoes around such idiots needs to retreat to a backroom and do research. Ms Sherrod is right. She needs to keep moving; never withdraw a resignation.

Posted by: Draesop | August 24, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Why wasn't she offered her old job back? Was she doing too good a job for the poor farmers? Did Vilsack realize she might uncover the totally racist atmosphere at USDA?

Posted by: scsmith58 | August 24, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This is a good lesson for employers (and everyone in general) to not take everything seen on the internet as gospel......I applaud her reasons for not returning. It's a shame it even got to the point of asking her to resign FROM HER CELL PHONE - seriously?!

Posted by: pamanorske1 | August 24, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ms Sherrod has qualities that a few of the commenters here would not recognize let alone understand.

Ms. Sherrod has exhibited grace while under fire, integrity, fortitude, a strong and incorruptible character. An honorable woman.

Who wouldn't seize the moment and take what at first seemed like an untenable situation and turn it around to their advantage?
When one door closes another opens. LOL some of you are just upset that Ms. Sherrod was standing on the other side of that door.

I suspect that she like most of us, if offered the opportunity, would prefer spending more time with family and friends. Briebart, Fox and Rupert, I bet , will in the very near future, be paying Ms. Sherrod big-time. And they should, since with malice aforethought they defamed her character and maligned her reputation. For those of you "tired" of ths story then just move on. Some of us are watching and waiting to see Ms. Sherrod's triumph over the evil-doers.

Kudos to her. She knows how to make lemonade when tossed lemons. I wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors.

Posted by: 2belinda | August 24, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

2belinda - well said

Posted by: KAT70BOS | August 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

She'll make more money on the oppressed minority lecture circuit, as well she should

Posted by: jiji1 | August 24, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

the white man acted stupidly

Posted by: jiji1 | August 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing who is calling who racist in these posts. The NAACP put out only part of the tape and that is the part Breitbart had at first. Actually, that part of the tape showed how racist the NAACP is because they laughed and clapped when Sherrod started her story. The NAACP did not wait til she explained herself before cheering her supposed racist attitude. And there were high ups there from the NAACP. As soon as the rest of the tape was released by the NAACP, Breitbart released the rest of the tape. It was actually Glenn Beck who listened to the whole tape first and said that afternoon on his TV show that she was NOT being racist but saying she had learned from her earlier attitude. In fact, it was Obama as well as the NAACP who were racist. Obama is a devisive president and the worst president this country could have or has had and we have had some bad ones - all dems! Her only suit would be the Dept of Agriculture, whom she has already sued in the past, and Obama. It is sad that one can be fired for telling the truth when the truth is good. Obama has had too many of these fast moments!! He will never learn because he thinkgs he knows it all and he knows nothing.

Posted by: annnort | August 24, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The continuing saga of hate from the Dixiecrat Republican Tea Bagger John Birchers is almost palpable.
It's always amazing to see the shills of the rich and powerful start complaining about "class war". They also forget that Ms. Sherrod's father was killed by a white man who then got off (sort of like Blagoevitch) and her family had a cross burned in front of their yard. That's a lot to overcome; but she did.
I lived through the hate of the 50s and 60s; it's sad to see its return.

Posted by: roscym1 | August 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@ ronjeske, THUMBS UP, I agree with you!

Posted by: stoneyuptwn | August 24, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are out in force today with their negative comments. The woman did the right thing.

Posted by: truth1 | August 24, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod has had a successful federal career, and can retire and live comfortably. No doubt she was wronged, but her agency acknowedged thier bad traetemnt of her tried to fix it. (We should all work for the feds) She said "No Thanks". If there is an open position in the DOA that deals with civil Rights issues they should post it. I'm they will attract a lot of qualified and able candidates to fill. But Now, the Sherrod story has ended, and its tiem to move on.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | August 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I think newspapers need to discontinue letting us comment on stories. I can't believe the hateful comments directed at Ms. Sherrod who was NOT guilty of anything and did NOT seek the limelight. I am personally glad that she used the media to get her good name back.

Posted by: rlj1 | August 24, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

What if it were you?

Posted by: lindsayfamily3 | August 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod's quick dismissal from the Obama admin. may have had less to do with her comments on race before the NAACP than her long involvement in the aptly named Pigford case, a class action against the US government on behalf of black farmers alleging that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had discriminated against black farmers during the period from 1983 through 1997. According to Wikipedia:

The plaintiffs settled with the government in 1999. Under the consent decree, all African American farmers would be paid a "virtually automatic" US$50,000 plus granted certain loan forgiveness and tax offsets. This process was called "Track A".[2]

Alternatively, affected farmers could follow the "Track B" process, seeking a larger payment by presenting a greater amount of evidence - the legal standard in this case was to have a preponderance of evidence along with evidence of greater damages....

At the time the case was settled, it was estimated there would be in the area of 2,000 to 3,000 claims. As with most estimates involving government handouts that number was woefully short of the mark. Again, according to Wikipedia:

22,505 "Track A" applications were heard and decided upon, of which 13,348 (59%) were approved. US$995 million had been disbursed or credited to the "Track A" applicants as of January 2009, including US$760 million disbursed as US$50,000 cash awards. Fewer than 200 farmers opted for the "Track B" process.

Beyond those applications that were heard and decided upon, about 70,000 petitions were filed late and were not allowed to proceed. Some have argued that the notice program was defective, and others blamed the farmers' attorneys for "the inadequate notice and overall mismanagement of the settlement agreement." A provision in the 2008 farm bill essentially allowed a re-hearing in civil court for any claimant whose claim had been denied without a decision that had been based on its merits

In other words, according to the number of total claims filed not only exceeded the original estimate by almost 40 to 50 times, it is close to four times the USDA's estimate of 26,785 total black owned farms in 1977! One reason for this is that the settlement applied to farmers and those who "attempted to farm" and did not receive assistance from the USDA. Getting the latest round of Pigford cases from the 2008 farm bill settled is said to be a high priority for the Obama administration.

So where does Sherrod come into this picture? In a special to the Washington Examiner, Tom Blumer explains that Sherrod and the group she formed along with family members and others, New Communities. Inc. received the largest single settlement under Pigford...


Posted by: AJAX2 | August 24, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Hope she sues the hell out of racist weenie Breitbart.
Posted by: solsticebelle | August 24, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse
LOL too bad she can’t. He didn’t break any laws.

LIBERALS the world’s stup1dest mammal…….

Posted by: askgees | August 24, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Ms Sherrod has qualities that a few of the commenters here would not recognize let alone understand.
Ms. Sherrod has exhibited grace while under fire, integrity, fortitude, a strong and incorruptible character. An honorable woman.
Who wouldn't seize the moment and take what at first seemed like an untenable situation and turn it around to their advantage?
When one door closes another opens. LOL some of you are just upset that Ms. Sherrod was standing on the other side of that door.
I suspect that she like most of us, if offered the opportunity, would prefer spending more time with family and friends. Briebart, Fox and Rupert, I bet , will in the very near future, be paying Ms. Sherrod big-time. And they should, since with malice aforethought they defamed her character and maligned her reputation. For those of you "tired" of ths story then just move on. Some of us are watching and waiting to see Ms. Sherrod's triumph over the evil-doers.
Kudos to her. She knows how to make lemonade when tossed lemons. I wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors.
Posted by: 2belinda | August 24, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL sorry but neither Fox its owners of the blogger will face any issues. The recording was made by the NAACP and posted by the NACCP. The portion of the tape aired was not ever meant to be a witch hunt against Sherrod it was meant to prove that there is racists with in the NAACP. This was clearly proven y the cheers from the crowd after she stated she failed to help a white farmer. So since this was an excerpt from the original recording and not doctored in anyway she has NO LEGAL RECOURSE. However she may be able to file suite against the US (Federal Gov.) but that’s all but an impossible task. Not to mention how it would appear. A black woman suing the black president????? This is a dead story.

Posted by: askgees | August 24, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope Shirley Sherrod is taking time off to figure out a legal way to convince people that attacks on public figures that use fabricated information, deliberate false statements designed to humiliate and mislead or are simply untrue have no place in government,government services or anywhere else for that matter. The political ads this year make me sick they're not about informing votes of the candidates position on the issues they're about slaming the opponent on personal issues, its to the point quaified people won't run for office because its not worth getting slandered and their reputation ruined to serve the public. 20% of the people will believe anything if its wrong enough.

Posted by: Anders5 | August 24, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The tape was release to provide prove that the NAACP has a racist element with in its group. The same EXACT thing the NAACP said about the tea party. Sherrod just happened to be the speaker. She was not the target of anyone or any group. However the great Obumbler blew it as he was more concerned about his self than Sherrod and in an attempt to avoid the fall out fired her. Obama is the one who's responsible and the one Sherrod should be going after. Who knows? Since she refused the job she may be planning to.

Posted by: askgees | August 24, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

She should stay off tv as in the interview on cnn she came across as dumb as a rock.
Perhaps she feels entitled to be in the Cabinet. I don't think so.

Posted by: BWF1 | August 24, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I only hope Ms.Sherrod is amply compensated for her time-off-repreive in deciding options. She exemplifies the strength of character so needed in today's government.

Posted by: judie111 | August 24, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Shirley. Take your time and then sue the m%^$#fkers. Don't forget Obama in the lawsuit, though.

Good luck and thanks for your perseverance despite these days of hatred for profit.

Posted by: cintronlourdes | August 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I only hope Ms.Sherrod is amply compensated for her time-off-repreive in deciding options. She exemplifies the strength of character so needed in today's government.
Posted by: judie111 | August 24, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL LIB thinking at its best. She was fired. Then refused two job offers. Why would she be compensated???

Posted by: askgees | August 24, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod, if so inclined, has every right to sue everyone in this whole discriminatory affair from the blithering blogger, to the knee jerk White House Press Secretary, to the "CYA" Agriculture Cabinet Head; to his hatchet undersecretary who dared to pass along the political edict and pink slip. I don't blame Ms. Sherrod one bit for the decision she made. You can bet your sweet bippy that if she had been a "male" manager, none of this would have happened and the whole mess would have been resolved over a beer in the Rose Garden, no doubt.

Posted by: mpwynn | August 24, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know...has she been getting paid all this time?

Posted by: OhMy1 | August 24, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

What I find is interesting that the many people on the various blogs vilifying Mrs. Sherrod. She was the one who was wronged. She was the one fired without being given due process. And of course you have the whiners blaming the President. Guess what people she has every right to do whatever she wants to do . She did nothing wrong. If any one of you were in the same position you would do the very same thing.

Posted by: catmomtx | August 24, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Tom Vilsack reminds me of what we used to say about General's aides in the Marine Corps.

That is, their only real duty was to stand up at formal dinner parties after their bosses had loudly passed gas and then dramatically apologize to everyone in the room for being such a pig.

Posted by: pgould1 | August 24, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I like rule number 5: The "department" is to "review" senior official travel schedules to make sure someone is in town to make a tough call. Who, exactly, is "the department?"

It is indeed difficult to believe that in this day and age, someone's physical presence in Washington, D.C. is needed to make a personnel decision.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | August 24, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

This one is easy to figure out. Next thing coming is THE LAWSUIT. WATCH WHAT THEY DO, NOT WHAT THEY SAY.

Posted by: barrysal | August 24, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I would sue, "Andrew Breitbart" for losing mky job and sprerading lies of myself over the internet, which has juristprudence at this point. if I was Mr. breibert, I would get a GOP lawyer to protect my exposed rear for inciting a racial riot over a lie.

Posted by: patmatthews | August 24, 2010 11:23 AM

How eloquently stated, if somewhat incoherent. Any chance that you could elucidate on precisely the "juristprudence (sic) which the internet has at this point?" Also, I must have missed the racial riots that were incited. Were there a great deal of damages, injuries, and arrests?

Posted by: hisroc | August 24, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the good old days when accountability reigned? Tom Vilsack needs to own up to his own incompetence in the position and resign immediately.

After all, he did prove that he was incapable of making the right decision - which is the top prerequisite for his role.

Actually, he couldn't even manage to choose an action where he would have morally - or intellectually - broken even - he had to make the worst decision possible, which was to jump the gun, assume the worst and aim the gun at his foot.

It is clear - this guy has no talent for the job!

Posted by: WorldNet | August 24, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Breitbart! ANOTHER vicious totalitarian (Sherrod) bites the dust and is a scalp for your collection.

You wanted to expose the Media and White House as vicious racists, which they really are, because they lied about the Tea Party being "racist" and you SUCCEEDED BRILLIANTLY!

They took your bait hook, line, and sinker.

They'll NEVER be able to live down the EMBARRASSMENT of panicking in the face of your video and the White House coming down HARD on Sherrod, forcing her to resign from her automobile as she was driving.....and Vilsak.....failing to resign or even offer to.....pathetic and telling.


Posted by: notinpa | August 24, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame her for turning down the job offers. The put it mildly, it sounds like the "unique opportunity" was very poorly defined and that she had no idea what her job (let alone her duties) would be. She can't go back to her former position, because there is no way that she can report to someone (Undersecretary Cheryl Cook) who publicly humiliated her by ordering her to pull over to the side of the road and resign via BlackBerry. The request to resign may have come from Secretary Vilsack, but the way it was handled is something that I know that I personally could never get over.

Posted by: Justice1999 | August 24, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

What a disgusting, vile worm Andrew Breitbart is. Hopefully he gets sued into the poor house by the next person he slimes.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 25, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

What a disgusting, vile worm Andrew Breitbart is. Hopefully he gets sued into the poor house by the next person he slimes.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 25, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

You're an id10t. He didn't do anything wrong other than prove that the NAACP also has racists with in its members.

Nothing was doctored or altered and he did not fire her..

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Posted by: itkonlyyou248 | August 25, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Sherrod:
I am very proud of you. Some people think this is a one time incident which means they cannot see any further than the nose on their face. The very same thing happened to me in the 90's. When I went to NAACP they blamed me rather than doing research and finding out the problem. I called NAACP when I heard about your case and the person who answered the phone hung up on me when I mentioned your name. We are our own worse enemy. In my case, I was twice victimized after having a Stella Federal Career up until that point. It is going to happen again and you were smart in not accepting this new position. When they decide they do not want you then it is time to go. I can name three Black Professional Females with Stella Careers that this same or similar thing happened too it is really too bad ... Nothing is equal in the Federal Government when it comes to this type of thing and our president gets blamed for everything no matter what.
Ms. Sherrod go home and make a difference there and while doing it begin to enjoy a stress free life as much as you can. God is with you.

Posted by: marylb7834 | August 25, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Attention trolls: NO her 15 minutes are not up. Stay tuned for the discovery part of her defamation suit where Breitbart gets to explain where he got the tape and how it wound up in a condition that any high-schooler who uses youTube would know is edited. OR refuse to explain and have the court assume he did the edits himself. Then y'all have something to kvetch about for real.

Posted by: willdamon | August 30, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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