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Ag Sec Vilsack Says He’ll Reconsider Sherrod’s Case, But What About His?

As David Dayen reported this a.m., Agriculture Secretary Vilsack issued a statement today saying he will reconsider the case that led to the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod. This comes after he and the Obama Administration faced a storm of criticism for their actions. But she may not want the job now. From CNN:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday that he will review the case of Shirley Sherrod, who resigned Monday after the video clip first appeared on a conservative website and later on Fox News.

. . .

“I am, of course, willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,” Vilsack said in a statement.

. . .

The USDA’s decision is “bittersweet,” Sherrod told CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday.

“If they had just taken the time to — even without looking at the tape — to look at me, to look at what I’ve stood for, to look at what I’ve done since I’ve actually been at the department, I don’t think they would have been so quick to do what they did and so insistent,” she said. “… To now come back and say, ‘Well, we’re willing to look at this,’ it definitely is a little bittersweet.”

Well played Tom, and thanks for taking the hit for what everyone suspects was a White House political call. And if it wasn’t, why are you still there?

Vilsack’s watching the tape is not the investigation of facts we need. What the public needs to know is how he and his Department managed to get played by Andrew Breitbart and Fox News again. And we’d like to know what role anyone in the White House played in making the Administration look like it doesn’t give a fig for fair procedures or the facts and is willing to throw anyone who really cares about people under the bus to avoid conflict. Except you picked on a woman who’s not willing to just shut up and sit under your bus.

Let’s see, Dawn Johnsen, Van Jones, ACORN, Liz Warren, Shirley Sherrod, . . . unions, women, hispanics, LGBT, the unemployed, . . . It’s almost as though there were a White House insider deliberately trying to drive people away from the Democratic Party and discredit this Administration.  . . .”

[Ed. Note: Scarecrow has more on this unfolding story here.]

Does anyone remember “cancer on the Presidency?” From Huffington Post:

As more information emerged the following day, Sherrod began to get backing from a diverse coalition that includes not only the NAACP and Beck, but also Democratic strategists Paul Begala and Donna Brazile. The latter pair have called for Sherrod to get her job back. David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents, echoed those sentiments.

Gergen issued perhaps the strongest critique of all while speaking on “AC 360” with Anderson Cooper. “This has ripped away the veil and shown us all that is wrong with politics today,” he began. “An ideologue injects poison into the internet, other people rush to judgment on camera, and an administration gets stampeded and commits this travesty of justice. The NAACP has at least had the courage to come back and say ‘we were wrong’ and apologize. Now the administration needs to to the same thing. The president — tonight — ought to order the Agriculture Department to reopen this case, give this woman a fair hearing, and — if the facts are as they seem — reinstate her with an apology. Indeed, I think she deserves a whole lot more than an apology. I think she deserves honor for her attempts to bring people together.

So now you get lectured by David Gergen and Glenn Beck?

And how long do you think it will take for an inquiring Marcy Wheeler to ask the next question: if you can get so easily played by Breitbart and forced to retreat after losing another slice of the Democratic coalition, why should we think this Administration isn’t getting played daily by someone else?


I see CNN is still showing clips of Andrew Breitbart — he was on John King’s CNN’s show last night — smearing NAACP. Showing his picture while you explain he knowingly misled everyone about Sherrod is one thing; giving him free airtime to spew even more bile is unconcionable, and it was made worse by John King’s feeble attempts to question him. King got played by Breitbart last night, who got another uninterrupted segment to smear the NAACP, and the foolish King said he’d look into that. Why hasn’t Breitbart been banned by every serious news outlet?

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley