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South Carolina AFL-CIO Head Takes Aim at Gov. Nikki Haley's Head South Carolina AFL-CIO Head Takes Aim at Gov. Nikki Haley's Head

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

South Carolina AFL-CIO Head Takes Aim at Gov. Nikki Haley's Head

Donna Dewitt says she was just having fun when she put Haley's face on a pinata.

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
May 22, 2012

A labor official in South Carolina found a unique way of taking out her frustration with the state’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley: She put her face on a piñata and gave it a whack.
 
“It’s a child’s game, and as anybody can see, I’m smiling,” Donna Dewitt, the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, told National Journal after a video circulated on the Internet showing her taking a bat to the governor's face imprinted on a piñata. And though she insisted the piñata was not any sort of political statement, Dewitt added, “She’s been whacking at us for two years and I’m just going to take a whack back.”
 
In the video, Dewitt calls out, “What I will say, you know, she looks like a tough old girl here!” A voice off-screen says, “Well whack her harder … Wait until her face comes around.” After two hits with the bat, and a “Whoop!” on Dewitt’s part, the piñata falls.
 
The incident occurred at a Saturday meeting of the South Carolina Progressive Network, a group of about 60 organizations that Dewitt co-chairs.
 
Haley, who has voiced her dislike for unions and has been sued by the International Association of Machinists and AFL-CIO, wrote on her Twitter and Facebook pages, “Wow. I wonder if the unions think this kind of thing will make people take them seriously.”

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said, “There is no place for that in civil public discourse, and that video no more represents the people of South Carolina than union bosses represent our workers.”

 

A statement from the national AFL-CIO disavowed Dewitt's action. “While it was meant as fun, there is absolutely no place for that kind of joke in a conversation that is extremely serious about how to rebuild our middle class and our country,” said spokeswoman Alison Omens.

 

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