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Tom Vilsack says he'll meet with Shirley Sherrod

By Ed O'Keefe

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hopes to meet soon with ousted department official Shirley Sherrod, but he's not quite sure when it will happen.

Speaking Wednesday while attending the Iowa State Fair (one of many Cabinet secretaries visiting fairs this summer), he told the Associated Press he's confident he'll meet with her, but they're trying to work out the details.

The secretary and Sherrod have spoken "a number of times," he said.

Sherrod is due to visit Washington early next week and has hired publicists to help her with the barrage of continued media requests.

She resigned under pressure last month from her position as Georgia state director for USDA's rural development program after an edited clip of a speech she gave in March to an NAACP chapter ignited conservative criticism and days of debate about how the Obama administration reacts to racially-driven incidents.

Vilsack later apologized for forcing her resignation and offered to rehire her into a new position focused on civil rights. President Obama also called to apologize.

But Sherrod has rebuffed the offers thus far, saying Obama, Vilsack and the entire department need to learn more about the plight of black farmers before she considers taking a position.

Vilsack is due to receive the initial findings of an internal review of the whole Sherrod affair in the coming days, according to department officials.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | August 18, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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tom vilsack should have got the sack on day two of this sad story's life.

Posted by: david_weinstock | August 19, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

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