WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is standing by its decision to oust a black Agriculture Department employee over racially tinged remarks at an NAACP banquet in Georgia, despite evidence that her remarks were misconstrued and growing calls for USDA to reconsider.

Shirley Sherrod, who until Tuesday was the Agriculture Department’s director of rural development in Georgia, says the administration caved to political pressure by pushing her to resign for saying that she didn’t give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago when she worked for a nonprofit group.

Sherrod’s remarks, delivered in March at a local NAACP banquet in Georgia, were part of a story about racial reconciliation, not racism. The white farming family that was the subject of the story stood by Sherrod and said she should keep her job.

“We probably wouldn’t have (our farm) today if it hadn’t been for her leading us in the right direction,” said Eloise Spooner, the wife of farmer Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga. “I wish she could get her job back because she was good to us, I tell you.”

The NAACP, which initially condemned Sherrod’s remarks, joined the calls for her to keep her job. The civil rights group said it and millions of others were duped by the conservative website that posted partial video of her speech on Monday.

“We have come to the conclusion we were snookered into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous’ statement.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Obama was briefed on the matter after Sherrod’s resignation and stands by the USDA’s handling of it.

The website, big government.com, gained fame last year after airing video of workers at the community group ACORN counseling actors posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend. It posted the Sherrod video as evidence that the NAACP, which recently passed a resolution condemning what it calls racist elements of the tea party, condones racism of its own.

Sherrod said she was on the road Monday when USDA Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook called and told her the White House wanted her to resign because her comments were generating a cable news controversy.

“They called me twice,” she said. “The last time they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and submit my resignation on my BlackBerry, and that’s what I did.”

Sherrod said administration officials weren’t interested in hearing her explanation. “They didn’t even try to attempt to see what is happening here, they didn’t care,” she said. “I’m not a racist Anyone who knows me knows that I’m for fairness.”

The administration gave a different version of events.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — not the White House — made the decision to ask Sherrod to resign, said USDA spokeswoman Chris Mather. She said Sherrod willingly resigned when asked.

The controversy began Monday when biggovernment.com posted a two-minute, 38-second video clip in which Sherrod describes the first time a white farmer came to her for help.

It was 1986, and she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group. She said the farmer came in acting “superior” to her and that she debated how much help to give him.

“I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with helping a white person save their land,” Sherrod said.

Initially, she said, “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do” and only gave him enough help to keep his case progressing. Eventually, she said, his situation “opened my eyes” that whites were struggling just like blacks, and helping farmers wasn’t so much about race but was “about the poor versus those who have.”

Sherrod said Tuesday that the incomplete video appears to intentionally twist her message.