*Well that was quick.
Shortly after meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this morning about a job offer in the wake of her forced removal, Shirley Sherrod has announced that she will not accept the new position.
As previously reported, the two met face-to-face for the first time since a videotape edited by a conservative blogger to make her appear racist led to her ouster.
Vilsack, who apologized to Sherrod for forcing her out, had offered her a new position in the Agriculture Department’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which works on civil rights issues.
Sherrod told reporters the new job was tempting, and that she may work with the agency in a consulting capacity in the future to help it improve its outreach to minorities, but she did not think she could say yes to a job “at this point, with all that has happened.”
“I look forward to some type of relationship with the department in the future,” she said. “We do need to work on the issues of discrimination and race in this country.”
Formerly the agency’s director of rural development in Georgia, Sherrod was forced to resign after a blogger Andrew Breitbart posted snippets of a March speech in which she appeared to make racist remarks. Vilsack and others, including the NAACP, condemned the remarks before grasping the full context of her speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing.
Vilsack said that “Shirley has unique opportunities here” and had worked hard to get Sherrod to return.
“I think I can be helpful to him and the department if I just take a little break and look at how I can be more helpful in the future,” Sherrod said.