Tales from the Trail

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/

It seems that the more Shirley Sherrod talked this week, the clearer it became how badly the Obama administration handled her sacking as Georgia rural development director at USDA.
Sherrod was forced to resign Monday after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted a clip online of a speech she gave in March to a Georgia local NAACP meeting.
The clip showed her talking about doing little to help a white farmer 20 years ago because of race.
It didn’t show her full remarks and the point of her story, in which she described having an epiphany when she realized no one else was helping the farmer, even his white attorney.

That was when she realized the issue wasn’t race, but poverty, and launched herself into the struggle that ultimately helped save his farm, Sherrod told her audience.

The First Draft: tax torture

The second round of Barack Obama‘s cabinet picks undergo their Capitol Hill hazing today. Who else screwed up on their taxes? Our elected representatives are sure to find out.

USA-OBAMA/ANNOUNCMENTConfirmation hearings today: Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary; Lisa Jackson for the Environmental Protection Agency; Peter Orszag at the Office of Management and Budget; and Erik Shinseki at Veterans Affairs.

Keep an eye on Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. He’s the one who revealed that Timothy Geithner, who as Treasury Secretary would oversee the IRS, made a hash of his tax returns. Will Grassley make the issue more than simply an embarrassment for the Obama administration’s top money man?