Sherrod Speaks To President Obama In A Telephone Call

President Barack Obama spoke Thursday with Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who was forced to resign from her job based on incomplete and misleading reports about a speech she gave in March. Sherrod received a text message telling her Obama had been trying to reach her since Wednesday night, said Julie O'Neill, a CNN Special Investigations Unit producer who was with her at the time. Sherrod called the White House and was asked to call back in 10 minutes, at which time she spoke to the president. Sherrod was "very, very pleased with the conversation," O'Neill said, and told her Obama had said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was "very apologetic and very sincere." Vilsack apologized to Sherrod on Wednesday and offered her a different position within the department. Obama compared some of the events this week surrounding Sherrod to things he has written about in his books, O'Neill said. Sherrod "invited him to South Georgia," she added. During the seven-minute conversation, "The president told Ms. Sherrod that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need, and he hopes that she will do so," the White House said in a statement about the phone conversation.