A girl named Julia has found herself in the middle of the so-called War on Women, which Democrats and Republicans each accuse each other of waging
Julia is not a real person. She's a character created by the Obama 2012 campaign to demonstrate how the president's policies would help her throughout her life -- and give examples of how Mitt Romney's would hurt her.
The Life of Julia begins with the character enrolling in kindergarten, follows her through a career in web design, and ends with her retirement, through a slide show. In one slide, 18-year-old Julia is preparing for her first semester of college, where she and her family qualify for President Obama's American Opportunity Tax Credit-worth up to $10,000 over four years. Julia is also one of the millions of students who receive a Pell Grant to help put a college education within reach.
Romney, on the other hand, would allow the tax credit to expire and the Pell Grant funding would be slashed for 10 million students, according to the slideshow.
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The Life of Julia calls out Romney on other education and health issues, including cuts to public education funding in the Romney and Paul Ryan-backed budget plan, his promise to repeal Obama's signature health reform and his refusal to say whether or not he would have vetoed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which aims to make it easier for women to challenge unequal pay compared to their male counterparts in the workforce.
Republicans -- who are still working hard to win over women voters after weeks of debate over abortion, contraception and other women's issues -- lambasted the Obama campaign for viewing the life of the women solely through how the government could help her.
Let's for the purposes of this post, set aside the misleading generalizations regarding policy in the ad (no one is innocent on that account, obviously), writes David Harsanyi in the conservative Human Events (h/t Politico). What we are left with is a celebration of how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people's money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I'd say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have - outwardly, at least - shunned.
In a statement to the National Journal, Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg argued that it was Obama's policies, not Romney's, that were hurting women. Each night, too many women go to sleep wondering if they can pay the mortgage, if they can afford to put food on the table, and if their children will have a job after graduating from college, she said in an e-mail. Nearly a million more women are out of work under President Obama while female poverty is at its highest level in nearly two decades. By all accounts, President Obama's policies have failed women, like all Americans, and they deserve a president who will focus on getting America back on track.
After Julia was published, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and other conservatives launched a social media offensive, pushing their message with a #Julia hashtag on Twitter and making in a trending topic nationwide.
Mitt Romney's campaign has been making an effort to win over women voters, a demographic that swept center stage during the Republican primary, with the help of national debates over mandated contraception coverage (see Sandra Fluke), funding Planned Parenthood (see Susan G. Komen) and abortion (see Virginia).
Democrats coined the term the Republican War on Women to argue that policies under Mitt Romney would be bad news for women in terms of health insurance, equal pay and the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Romney has been battling that response with the help of his wife, Ann, who has hit the campaign trail a lot the past few months. Her response to Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen's statement that she never worked a day in her life although she raised five boys blew up and almost faded away as quickly on the internet and television.