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USDA rethinking official’s removal in race controversy

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today he is further reviewing the case of Shirley Sherrod, who resigned under pressure Monday as part of a growing racial controversy. The conservative website Biggovernment.com, run by Andrew Breitbart, on Monday posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, telling a story about a 1986 incident where she didn’t help a white farmer as much as she could have. But the full video shows Sherrod’s story was meant to illustrate the importance of moving beyond race. In it, she describes how she first steered the white farmer to a white lawyer who could help him, and later on, further helped out the farmer when he was facing bankruptcy.

Breitbart has a history of hyping inflammatory videos that later turn out to be highly edited and slanted. Now Sherrod has been caught in the middle of Breitbart’s grudge against the NAACP. The NAACP, meanwhile, has retracted its earlier condemnation of Sherrod and said it was “snookered” by the edited video.

As for Sherrod, she’s not sure she would come back to USDA even if Vilsack’s review exonerates her.

After the jump, Sherrod’s full remarks (she starts talking about the white farmer about 17 minutes in), and Breitbart’s widely shifting response to criticism yesterday.

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Former USDA official tells her side of racial controversy

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CNN has an interview with Shirley Sherrod, an Agriculture Department official who stepped down yesterday after a video surfaced where she describes a 1986 incident where she didn’t help a white farmer as much as she could because of his race. The NAACP applauded her resignation, but Sherrod — who was USDA’s director of rural development in Georgia — said the comments in the video don’t tell the whole story, and said the incident took place before she joined USDA.

What do you think? Did Sherrod cross the line? Or is this a puffed-up controversy?

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DNI Blair’s resignation statement

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Adm. Dennis Blair

Adm. Dennis Blair

Adm. Dennis Blair is officially stepping down as Director of National Intelligence. Here’s the statement he just sent out to the intelligence community:

It is with deep regret that I informed the President today that I will step down as Director of National Intelligence effective Friday, May 28th. 

I have had no greater honor or pleasure than to lead the remarkably talented and patriotic men and women of the Intelligence Community. 

Every day, you have worked tirelessly to provide intelligence support for two wars and to prevent an attack on our homeland. 

You are true heroes, just like the members of the Armed Forces, firefighters, and police whose job it is to keep our nation safe.

Your work over the past 16 months has made the Intelligence Community more integrated, agile, and representative of American values.  Keep it up – I will be cheering for you.

Dennis C. Blair

 Roundup of other reaction after the break:

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