Inside Politics: Hitting Haley effigy used in ad against ‘big labor’

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is using video of a union leader whacking a pinata with an image of her face as a campaign fundraiser.

The Republican governor’s 2014 re-election campaign asked supporters in a mass email sent Wednesday to contribute $50 to $250 to “show big labor we will not stand for their bullying.”

The video was shot Saturday after the South Carolina Progressive Network’s spring conference and features retiring state AFL-CIO President Donna Dewitt striking the pinata with a bat. People can be heard in the background yelling, “Whack her! … Hit her again!”

Ms. Dewitt said there was no ill intent to the picnic game and stressed the conference was not an AFL-CIO event.

STATE

Clinton acknowledges cyberattack on al Qaeda

TAMPA, Fla. — The State Department has launched a different sort of raid against al Qaeda — hacking into the Islamist group’s websites in Yemen.

In a rare public admission of the covert cyberwar against terrorists, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said U.S. cyberexperts based at the State Department hacked tribal websites, replacing al Qaeda propaganda that bragged about killing Americans.

“Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people,” Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday. “Extremists are publicly venting their frustration and asking supporters not to believe everything they read on the Internet.”

Speaking alongside Adm. William H. McRaven, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Mrs. Clinton said the effort is part of a multipronged attack on terrorism that goes beyond raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden to include diplomats working alongside special operations forces to shore up local governments and economies and train local forces.

Offensive attacks on extremist sites are generally attributed to the Pentagon’s U.S. Cyber Command, though they seldom are acknowledged publicly.

ARIZONA

Obama birth certificate gets OK by state official

PHOENIX — Arizona’s secretary of state says Hawaii’s verification of President Obama’s birth records meets necessary requirements and that the president’s name will appear on Arizona’s ballot in the fall.

The inquiry gave official weight to a long-simmering political controversy generated by those who say that Mr. Obama was not born in the U.S.

The Obama administration attempted to dismiss the conflict a year ago by releasing his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.

But skeptics maintained their stance, and eventually Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett announced he would seek further verification, even saying he was prepared to leave Mr. Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in November.

Mr. Bennett said Wednesday that Hawaii officially has confirmed the information on a copy of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate as accurate.

CALIFORNIA

Frisco official consults Ouija board for Milk vote

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco supervisor says he consulted a Ouija board before city leaders voted on whether to recommend naming a Navy ship after slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Supervisor John Avalos tells the San Francisco Chronicle that he thinks he made contact with Milk’s spirit and that Milk spelled out letters indicating: “Good riddance to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ “

The Board of Supervisors approved the nonbinding resolution Tuesday on a 9-2 vote.

Milk was a city supervisor and former naval officer. He was fatally shot in 1978 by Dan White.

Supporters say the naming would honor the repeal of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law barring open homosexuality in the military.

Opponents say Milk opposed war, and it would be inappropriate to name a warship after him.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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