Vilsack Offers Sherrod New Position

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has offered Shirley Sherrod a new position with the Department of Agriculture, AP reports. Sherrod is considering the offer.

"A good woman has gone through a difficult time, and I will have to live with that for a very long time," Vilsack told reporters late Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday the White House apologized to Sherrod, who was ousted from her position as Georgia state director of rural development, saying government officials who sought her resignation for comments about race had acted in haste and without all the facts. Vilsack "will apologize for the actions that have taken place in the past 24 to 36 hours," said administration spokesman Robert Gibbs. "I think everybody has to go back ... and ask themselves: How did we get into this? How did we not ask the right questions? How did you all [in the media] not ask the right questions?"

Responding to the White House's apology, Sherrod said she thinks the decision to fire her came so quickly out of fear of "the machine that the right has put out there."

Sherrod resigned Monday after an edited videotape appeared to show her admitting to racially motivated discrimination against white farmers 24 years ago. The full tape of her remarks, released Tuesday, showed that Sherrod was describing her feelings at the time, but said she learned from the episode that poor farmers of all races deserved assistance.