WASHINGTON--President Obama on Thursday called ousted USDA staffer Shirley Sherrod; White House press secretary Robert Gibbs at his briefing said their conversation contained his apology. Gibbs said the White House tried to reach her Wednesday and could not connect.
Gibbs said Obama talked with Sherrod about what he had written about in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," a best seller where he writes about grappling with his own racial identity.
"Obviously she has a remarkable story...He expressed his apology," Gibbs said.
According to a White House summary of the conversation provided before the Gibbs briefing:
"The President reached Ms. Sherrod by telephone at about 12:35. They spoke for seven minutes.
"The President expressed to Ms. Sherrod his regret about the events of the last several days. He emphasized that Secretary Vilsack was sincere in his apology yesterday, and in his work to rid USDA of discrimination.
"The President told Ms. Sherrod that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need, and he hopes that she will do so.
On Thursday morning, Sherrod told NBC's "The Today Show" she deserved a call from Obama.