Aiming to ease the ruckus raised over Target's donation to Minnesota Forward, a conservative committee that ran TV ads for anti-gay Republican candidate Tom Emmer, the company's CEO apologized publicly today for the, er, gaffe. AP reports: "Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote employees to say the discount retailer was "genuinely sorry" over the way a $150,000 contribution to MN Forward donation played out. Steinhafel said Target would set up a review process for future political donations."

The retail chain's mea culpa arrives just in time for next weekend's national day of protest. This should help ease tensions, especially here in the Bay Area.. Target plans on opening two stores in San Francisco (one in the old Mervyn's at Geary and Masonic, and another in the Metreon) over the next two years.

Target, we should point out, also sponsors the annual Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival.