In sum, Obama said Vilsack has "taken full responsibility" and that we all have stuff to learn on race despite the reality of his presidency. Or thereabouts.
Meanwhile, journos not mesmerized by the president's powerful spell (or feeling guilty over Journolistgate) were unbelievably still asking questions about the inconsistencies:
She said the USDA official who contacted her said she was acting at the behest of the White House. The White House said it had no part in Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's decision to ask for Sherrod's resignation.And here's the NY Times in an editorial not so favorable to the O team:
The administration’s haste to fire Ms. Sherrod was unfair and unseemly. She told of how an agriculture under secretary phoned her to demand she resign instantly via her BlackBerry. The official anxiously cited the likelihood the furor would “be on Glenn Beck tonight.”Of course the Times left off the White House link mentioned by CBS, but beggars can't be choosers. So, after Obama's smacking of ABC's slow-pitch softball question down the left field line we are left with the following:
Tom Vilsack, on his own and without contacting White House media and PR folks, panicked over an out of context snippet from a regional USDA official (and someone who just won a large settlement over USDA), peddled by a notorious right wing blogger who supposedly brought down ACORN using out-of-context snippets. Despite this track record Vilsack ordered his underling to hastily call Ms. Sherrod on cell, first to place her on administrative leave then on permanent leave. And all to beat the Glenn Beck show at 5pm. And all with no input from 1600.
This means that secretary Vilsack, a rich white guy, fired a black woman with a civil rights background without even the whiff of an investigation. Has he never spent even 10 minutes in diversity training? And he kept her fired all day Wednesday despite the exculpatory tape being issued, all with the backing of the buck stopper.
Yet everything is now wonderful because Vilsack apologized for himself and Obama apologized for Vilsack? His sword was made of rubber?
Meanwhile, Sherrod is not backing down off her White House connection claim. But in Vilsack's mea culpa he noted that Sherrod had tried to email a heads-up warning the previous Thursday but instead she sent it to an email address used for receiving public feedback (which means they hardly ever check it). Sounds fairly incompetent. Yet Sherrod said the following to Media Matters:
But after Breitbart posted the video clip, Sherrod said the lack of context and explanation sparked anger against her. She said she found out about the clip when someone e-mailed a link to her and asked about it.Forget the fact that MM is probably the biggest political hatchet outfit on the web, something Sherrod seems not to mind so long as they are getting the evil neocons. Time Mag is asking for the USDA to release the email heads-up she sent to Vilsack. Other reporters have peppered Gibbs for access to the USDA undersecretary who told Sherrod the White House was behind things. We await the eventual exciting conclusion, which will be lost in the shuffle as we head into the weekend.
"I couldn't believe it. I found this out when someone sent me (a link to) the tape, people who follow him, who put it out there," Sherrod said about Breitbart. "I got crank calls right away. Someone sent me an e-mail and link and said 'shame on you' and other stuff. I was sitting in a meeting and I was really upset.
Credit Ed Henry, the White House correspondent, for doing some real journalism..
They really don't want anybody to talk to this woman. Vilsack claims he addressed it yesterday, evidently meaning "shut up, I took all the blame already".
BTW, here's some further context, gleaned from the comments on this thread.
The same guy who once called the entire GOP a pack of racists calls Fox coverage racist. Remember, this same guy also once didn't know a top commentator in his own party was calling Bush a fascist. Meanwhile, only Maureen Dowd seems to be calling Vilsack, er, the West Wing, out of touch with race. "Too white". LOL.