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Published July 29, 2010, 11:51 AM

Ousted USDA employee Sherrod plans to sue blogger

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said today she will sue a conservative blogger who posted a video edited in a way that made her appear racist.

By: Jesse Washington, AP National Writer

SAN DIEGO — Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said today she will sue a conservative blogger who posted a video edited in a way that made her appear racist.

Sherrod was forced to resign as director of rural development in Georgia after Andrew Breitbart posted the edited video online. In the full video, Sherrod, who is black, spoke to a local NAACP group about racial reconciliation and lessons she learned after initially hesitating to help a white farmer save his home.

Speaking today at the National Association of Black Journalists convention, Sherrod said she would "definitely" sue over the video that took her remarks out of context. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has since offered Sherrod a new job in the department. She has not decided whether to accept.

Sherrod said she had not received an apology from Breitbart and no longer wanted one.

"He had to know that he was targeting me," she said.

Breitbart did not immediately respond to calls or e-mails seeking comment. He has said he posted the portion of the speech where she details her reluctance to help the white farmer to prove that racism exists in the NAACP, which had just demanded that the tea party movement renounce any bigoted elements. Some members of the NAACP audience responded approvingly when Sherrod described her reluctance to help the farmer.

The farmer's wife came forward after Sherrod resigned, saying Sherrod had eventually helped them save their farm.

Vilsack and President Barack Obama later called Sherrod to apologize for her hasty ouster. Obama said today that Sherrod "deserves better than what happened last week."

Addressing the National Urban League, he said the full story Sherrod was trying to tell "is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America."

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