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Shirley Sherrod Plays Hardball With Obama White House

July 22, 2010

I am very supportive of the actions that Shirley Sherrod is employing in her attempt to right her name, and focus the attention on those who should have stepped up and acted more forcefully during the past days. 

This morning Shirley Sherrod made news, and put the focus on the White House.  There will need to be a reaction from the White House.   Placing President Obama in the center of this controversy will make many squirm.  He will not be where he wants to be, but it is where he needs to be, and should have been, from day one.  There are two national conversations that need to be had.  First, is the one over race.  Second, is the one over the  prigs on the right who think they can do anything, and say anything, and be touted as reasonable when they are pure slime and need to be called out for what they truly are.  The President of the United States needs to enter the fray and make a statement and stand alongside Shirley Sherrod in the Rose Garden.  Given how she feels right now I think Obama might want to move quickly on this matter before she gives another interview……

Shirley Sherrod is correct in the media relations part of this story, as she needs to stand up for herself.  There have been a limited number these past days in Washington that have done so on her behalf.  While I understand those in the White House who think it is their duty to protect the President from getting dirty on this matter, I also know it is the President’s administration that allowed this crap to stick to the wall.  If my readers think I am a bit pissed at the Obama White House this morning, you are correct.

Now let’s get cracking at the White House to remedy this wrong! 

BULLETIN — George Stephanopoulos: “[O]n ‘GMA,’ Shirley Sherrod says that she’s not ready to accept Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s job offer. She wants to hear more from the Secretary and his boss – President Obama. ‘I can’t say that the President is fully behind me,’ Sherrod told me. ‘I would hope that he is…I would love to talk to him.’”  solve the issue of racism in USDA. … They talked about the Office of Outreach, and dealing with discrimination within the agency. … I haven’t seen the offer: The Secretary said he would e-mail it to me — I have not seen it yet. So before I say ‘no’ totally, I would like to look at that, to weigh it.

–Sherrod, to Meredith Vieira, in-studio on “Today”: “I really would not like want the president to apologize to me. I would love to have a CONVERSATION with him. … I’d like to talk to him a little … bit about the experiences of people like me — people at the grassroot level, people who live out there in rural America, people who live in the South. I know he does not have that kind of experience. Let me help him a little bit with how we think, how we live, and the things that are happening.”

–Sherrod goes after Breitbart: “I didn’t know of him before this. But the things he’s doing, … they’ve been done more to divide us, so we CAN’T move on. … He knew his actions would take Shirley Sherrod down — he didn’t mind doing that. … He’s never offered to apologize for what’s he’s done. … It would be HARD for me to forgive him at this point.”

–TICK-TOCK — Sherrod still asserts Ag invoked White House when firing her: “I stand by that. … The FIRST call I received said, ‘We’re putting you on administrative leave.’ I had to explain to my leadership staff, because we were quite a ways from the office, in a meeting. … I told them, ‘I have to leave and turn this government car in and get my car and go home.’ … The next call was, ‘Shirley, we’re going to have to ask you to resign.’ And then, ‘THE WHITE HOUSE wants you to resign.'”

–Sherrod tells Meredith she’s inclined to say “NO” to the offer: I would not want to be that individual that the [Agriculture] Department and everyone is looking to to solve the issue of racism in USDA. … They talked about the Office of Outreach, and dealing with discrimination within the agency. … I haven’t seen the offer: The Secretary said he would e-mail it to me — I have not seen it yet. So before I say ‘no’ totally, I would like to look at that, to weigh it.”

One Comment
  1. Marilyn Lee permalink
    July 22, 2010 10:53 AM

    Several points needed to be covered, IMO, way before the President gets involved. They are basic personnel management skills which were not put into play, and some basic Internet behavior which was not put into play either. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s lack of giving his employee a chance to tell her story is deplorable. Basic HR rules, no? Secondly, why would someone not have checked to see if the video had been computer generated? Even in the 60’s I saw video jerry-rigged to change a viewpoint; how many times did we see that during and after the 2008 election? I refuse to look at political “forwards” if they do not have a snopes or factcheck.org link with them. Why would not the Secretary’s staff have done something like that? Why would they not have just considered the source? Considered that Breitbart,the man who had no love of Dems, and what was his motivation for putting out that video? Why trust his honesty all of a sudden? Had the employee been vetted over years, received good evaluations over the years? Why was the Secretary so willing to think she had become stupid and racist all of a sudden? Still seems like it is Vilsack with the problem.

    And if the White House did NOT say that they wished her resignation, then did the Secretary lie? Another basic HR problem here maybe? And if the White House DID ask for her resignation, I refer them to the comments and the HR problems above.

    mlerc

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