POLITICS

Shirley Sherrod Fired In Rush Over Edited Video: Emails

10/07/2010 10:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama administration officials knew they did not have all the facts last summer when they rushed to dismiss Shirley Sherrod from the Agriculture Department after learning of a video that painted her as a racist, newly released e-mails show.

The day after Sherrod's ouster, even as USDA officials acknowledged in internal memos that they had not seen the full video, a White House senior aide e-mailed them to commend the department for moving quickly so the story would not gain "traction."

As it turned out, Sherrod had been falsely accused, and the actions taken by Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack and his senior staff became a major embarrassment for the Obama administration, raising questions about its basic competence and its preoccupation with public perceptions.

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