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Sherrod Rejects Job Offer From Agriculture Secretary

AP: Shirley Sherrod, ousted from the Agriculture Department during a racial firestorm that embarrassed the Obama administration, rejected an offer to return to the USDA on Tuesday. But at a cordial news conference with the man who asked her to leave — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — she said she may do consulting work for him on racial issues.

She was asked to leave her job as Georgia's director of rural development in July after comments she made in March were misconstrued as racist. She has since received numerous apologies from the administration, including from Obama himself, and Vilsack asked her to return. But she said at the news conference with a clearly disappointed Vilsack that she did not think she could say yes to a job "at this point, with all that has happened."

Vilsack said she may work with the department in a consulting capacity in the future to help improve outreach to minorities.

"I look forward to some type of relationship with the department in the future," said Sherrod, who is black. "We do need to work on the issues of discrimination and race in this country."

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