As expected, the topic of the day at today’s White House briefing was Shirley Sherrod. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fielded many questions on her ouster, apologizing on behalf of the administration for what he rightly called an “injustice.” In a dramatic turn, Jake Tapper informed Gibbs that Sherrod was watching the briefing, and Gibbs directed his apology to her. Tapper also pointed out that he (among others) had performed due diligence before acting on the story (unlike Secretary Tom Vilsack). See the remarkable exchange below.
Tapper also asked Gibbs if he agreed with critics who say the administration overreacted because they’re scared of conservative pundits, to which Gibbs replied, “No.” Responding to Chip Reid later in the briefing, Gibbs did not rule out the President speaking about this in the near future, and called this a “teachable moment.” I would bet that President Obama makes some sort of statement by the end of the day.