President Obama Said Sec. Tom Vilsack 'Jumped the Gun' on Shirley Sherrod’s Ouster

President Obama said Secretary Tom Vilsack rushed to judgment when he dismissed Shirley Sherrod from the Department of Agriculture amid charges of racism.

"He jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles," Obama told consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy in an exclusive “GMA” interview.

Tune into “GMA” at 7 a.m. ET to watch more of Elisabeth Leamy’s exclusive interview with President Obama on the consumer aspects of the financial reform legislation.

The president, who personally apologized to Sherrod earlier today, said he instructed his administration to learn from the circumstances surrounding her ouster.

“I've told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we're focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and, and think these issues through,” Obama told Leamy.

“If there's a lesson to be drawn from this episode, it's that rather than us jumping to conclusions and pointing fingers at each other, we should all look inward and try to examine what's in our own hearts and, as a consequence, I think we will continue to make progress,” he said.

This morning Sherrod told me she didn’t know if the president was “fully behind” her and wanted to speak to Obama to ensure his support before deciding whether to accept the position Vilsack offered her at the USDA.

No word yet from Sherrod if she will take the new gig after talking to Obama.

-- George Stephanopoulos

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