Tales from the Trail

RNC’s Steele cancels on NABJ due to food poisoning

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele canceled an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego on Friday due to food poisoning.

The NABJ announced the news on its convention website by displaying a picture of Steele with a red “canceled” banner across it, and a write-up that begins:  “A bad meal has spoiled one of the most anticipated events at this week’s NABJ convention.”

USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANSSteele was to have appeared in a session titled “Life, Liberty and Legacy” a day after Shirley Sherrod spoke at the same convention. Sherrod on Thursday said she planned to sue conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart who posted an edited video that led to accusations of racism and forced her to resign from the Agriculture Department. (After the whole video was seen, the Ag Secretary apologized and the President of the United States called her).

For anyone wondering whether Steele’s cancelation had anything to do with avoiding issues related to Sherrod, we asked the question and an RNC aide tells us it was food poisoning and that in the past week Steele had addressed the Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Urban League.

“While traveling out West the chairman came down with a bad case of food poisoning.  He is disappointed to miss the opportunity to take part in this valuable dialogue and looks forward to engaging with NABJ in the very near future,” an RNC statement said.

Shirley Sherrod says she will sue the blogger

Shirley Sherrod says she will sue conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart who posted an edited video that led to her forced resignation from the Agriculture Department over racism allegations.

“He’ll definitely hear from me,” Sherrod told the National Association of Black Journalists annual conference in San Diego on Thursday. USA-SHERROD/

Does she plan on filing a lawsuit? ”I will definitely do it,” Sherrod said.

Rrrrrrring, it’s the President calling…

They talked. 

President Barack Obama called Shirley Sherrod at about 12:35 p.m. and they spoke for 7 minutes. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the White House operator unsuccessfully tried to reach her twice last night but was unable to leave a voicemail.

POTUS offered his regrets, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had been sincere in his apology yesterday, and hoped that she would see “this misfortune” as an opportunity to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need. 

In just days, a charge of racism by a conservative  led to Sherrod losing her Agriculture Department job and ended in a phone call from the president. USA/