Ag. Secretary Apologizes, Offers Sherrod New Job

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WASHINGTON -- Less than 48 hours after being called a racist and forced to resign from her job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Shirley Sherrod may be headed back to work.

Sherrod said Wednesday that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack offered to hire her back under a different position and that she was considering the option.

The phrase "taken out of context" seems to apply to the controversy surrounding Sherrod.

Conservative online media mogul Andrew Breitbart made headlines, Monday, when he excerpted parts of a speech she made at an NAACP event, admitting she hadn't helped a white farmer as much as she could have.

"Here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land," Sherrod said at the meeting. "So, I didn't give him the full force of what I could do."

Afterwards, a USDA official reached Sherrod via her cell phone hand demanded she immediately type up her resignation on her Blackberry. Reluctantly, she complied.

CBN News spoke with Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center about the backlash over Sherrod's comments and whether the were misconstrued.  Click play for his reaction, following John Jessup's report.

But Sherrod pointed out her speech went on to say she had a change of heart when the white farmer wasn't going to get any help from a white official. She said she learned poor white farmers face discrimination just like black farmers.

Vilsack publicly apologized Wednesday for jumping to conclusions. He stressed that it was his decision alone to get rid of Sherrod.

"It was a decision that I regret having made in haste," Vilsack said, later adding that he'll "have to live with that a very long time."

If Sherrod accepts the new job offer, it's unclear what she will be doing, however, Vilsack said the position will offer a "unique opportunity" for Sherrod to help the USDA tackle a series of civil rights issues the USDA encounters nearly everyday.

Roger Spooner, the white farmer in question, has defended Sherrod saying she worked extremely hard and saved the family farm.

"If it hadn't been for her, we'd have lost," the Iron City, Ga. farmer said. "It was just a matter of a few months and we would have lost it.

"She needs her job back, and I'd give her job back in a minute," he added.

Initially, the White House and the NAACP had backed the agriculture secretary's ousting of Sherrod. But after learning more about Sherrod's story, the NAACP reversed course and said she should keep her job.

Meanwhile, Sherrod said she's hurt that no one in government would even listen to her side of the story.

She said anyone who really knows her knows she's no racist.

"All of my life has been about civil rights work and fairness," Sherrod said. Asked if she would return to the USDA if asked, Sherwood said, "That's one ... I just don't know at this point."

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.