She’s at the center of the latest round in a partisan, election-year debate about women, health care and the economy. But she – “Julia” – is not real.
The Obama campaign says the woman whose life is the subject of an online interactive tool meant to illustrate differences in budget and policy priorities between President Obama and Mitt Romney draws no inspiration from any single individual.
Why the name Julia and not Nancy, Deborah or Suzie?
“Just random,” said a campaign official.
“It’s just a representation of a typical middle-class woman throughout the different phases of her life, as the site states,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
As users click through “The Life of Julia,” cartoon-style scenes of incremental life stages illustrate how Obama has sought to improve college access, help women sue for pay discrimination and receive free preventive health care services, including contraception.
Each scene includes a note about Romney, claiming that his budget plan would sharply reduce spending for popular programs and repeal provisions aimed at women included in Democrats’ health care overhaul.
“Using this new online tool, moms can see what President Obama and Mitt Romney’s contrasting policies will mean for their daughters,” the campaign says. “Working women and seniors can use this online tool to see what this election will mean for their ability to earn a living, support their families and retire comfortably.”
The tool – pushed out through social media networks and on the campaign’s website – is significant as part of a concerted effort by Team Obama to keep alive the theme of a “Republican war on women.”
Mitt Romney wants to “close doors of opportunity we thought we’d kicked open a long time ago,” Obama said Friday in a speech to hundreds of Democratic women gathered in Washington, D.C.
Vice President Joe Biden will likely touch on similar themes when he addresses 400 women at the annual YWCA USA Conference in Washington on Friday.
In response to “Julia,” Republicans struck back at Obama with a hefty dose of snark and a bevy of economic statistics via email and Twitter.
“The Obama campaign forgot to talk about the real economic conditions she will have to deal with under Obama policies and the mountain of debt they have left her,” said Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer.
In a successive chain of tweets, the RNC circulated data points highlighting the fact that “Julia’s” share of the national debt ($34,419) grew sharply under Obama, along with tuition rates, health insurance premiums and gas prices.
The “new Obama graphic concedes that they see government’s role as taking care of people from cradle to grave. YAY Government!” said deputy RNC communications director Tim Miller on Twitter.