The White House said Mr. Obama made the call Thursday, one day after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized to Mrs. Sherrod for deciding to fire her over the video clip without viewing the entire speech. In the remarks, made at an NAACP event in Georgia in March, Ms. Sherrod spoke of how she overcame her own personal prejudices against white farmers.
“The president expressed to Ms. Sherrod his regret about the events of the last several days,” the White House said, noting that the phone call lasted seven minutes. “He emphasized that Secretary Vilsack was sincere in his apology yesterday, and in his work to rid USDA of discrimination.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs apologized on behalf of the administration but also levied criticism at the press for its role in the brouhaha.
The short video clip of Mrs. Sherrod’s remarks — which the entire speech shows were taken out of context — first was posted on a conservative website earlier this week. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People inititally condemned her but later said it was “snookered” by Fox News and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.