Video: Gibbs apologizes to Sherrod

Assuming she hasn’t yet formally been offered her job back, consider this an official guarantee that she will be. (Whether she wants it back is a another matter.) Question: When was the last time a story blew up this forcefully in the faces of people on both sides? Conservative media’s been embarrassed (even John Boehner’s criticizing Breitbart’s decision to run a partial clip), the NAACP’s been embarrassed, and of course Obama’s been embarrassed via an unforced error which the left is in no mood to forgive.

On Wednesday, liberals expressed fury that Sherrod hadn’t immediately been re-hired and lamented how the same president who broke so many conventional rules as a candidate was now bowing to the same forces on the right that have tormented Democrats for years.

“Now that the full video is out there and Sherrod’s version of events is vindicated, Obama looks foolish, impulsive and reactive,” said Jane Hamsher, a prominent liberal blogger and frequent Obama critics. “And he has only empowered Breitbart, who will continue to employ the same tactics until someone stands up to him. You would hope the President of the United States could manage that.”

“They desperately want to be liked by the right, and this pathological need to ingratiate themselves with people who want to destroy them lead them to make stupid move after stupid move,” complained Markos Moulitsas, who runs the influential Daily Kos blog

Said the Nation’s Ari Melber: “Obama’s team is right to condemn the sensationalism of 24-7 news, but they play right into the problem by rushing to judgment and ditching people stamped controversial by their opponents. We live in a world where anyone can be Breitbarted — the question isn’t whether you can be clipped out of context, or have your life’s work overshadowed by a day’s worth of links.”

Kos’s claim that Obama is trying to ingratiate himself with conservatives is insane, of course. After ObamaCare, there’s virtually nothing The One could do to redeem himself in the eyes of the right and everyone knows it. (That’s one of the reasons for all the “party of no” messaging, to convince voters that the GOP’s recalcitrance is irreparable and therefore the left’s entitled to abandon bipartisanship and ram stuff through.) As such, firing some unknown USDA employee in response to a Breitbart video wouldn’t make the barest blip in his favorables among conservatives. The real reason they moved so quickly against Sherrod is because of their understandable sensitivity to racial politics, especially after the “beer summit” fiasco and at a moment when the DOJ’s dealing with accusations of bias via the Black Panthers case. That’s why Gibbs’s deputy, Jim Messina, reportedly spent yesterday morning congratulating the WH press team for having moved so quickly against Sherrod. And of course the real reason liberals are angry with him isn’t because Obama’s cuddling up to conservatives or whatever but because he’s blown a golden opportunity to bludgeon the left’s enemies in conservative media. Had the White House held back until the full tape came out, they could have launched a full media offensive against the credibility of righty blogs. As it is, Gibbs is left apologizing for pretty much everyone. What a whiff.

Here’s the clip. CNN was interviewing Sherrod when the briefing again and used the opportunity to run a split screen of her watching Gibbs grovel. We’ve got that clip coming. In fact, Tapper, who enjoys making Gibbsy squirm, actually felt compelled to tell him that Sherrod was watching, which is just all kinds of awesome. Exit question via Ace: If, as the White House insisted yesterday, the order to fire Sherrod came from Vilsack and not from them, why did Messina insist on congratulating his team?

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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on June 02, 2023