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War over #Julia: Has Obama campaign set a trap for Republicans?

The Obama campaign's 'Life of Julia' Web infographic shows how government helps women from cradle to grave. Republicans have pounced on it as 'nanny state' excess. But the #Julia Internet meme has taken off.

By Staff writer / May 4, 2012

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, holding a flyer, campaigns at a female-owned work site in Hartford, Conn., last month in a bid to refute claims that he and his fellow Republicans are waging a 'war on women.'

Steven Senne/AP

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Washington

When the Obama campaign gave birth to “Julia” on Thursday, a cartoon woman whose “life” is depicted in a multipage Web infographic, the stated goal was to show voters how President Obama’s policies help women from cradle to grave.

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President Obama’s advantage on national security marks the first time in decades a Democratic candidate has had such an edge. DC Decoder’s Liz Marlantes explains.

But conservatives – including the Republican National Committee – jumped all over Julia, decrying her as representing the kind of socialistic future that President Obama envisions for America, with a government that is in our lives with unaffordable handouts every step of the way.

Immediately, the #Julia hashtag took off on Twitter. And the so-called “war on women” that the Democrats accuse the Republicans of waging became the war over Julia.

“As silly as it is, even baiting the Republicans into mocking the Julia feint is a form of engaging them on the gender issue,” writes Ana Marie Cox at The Guardian.

And, as is well-documented in polls, Mr. Obama crushes presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney among women voters, a deficit Mr. Romney has been addressing this week. On Thursday, he campaigned in Virginia with former primary opponent Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota, and spoke of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

But on the Web, it was Julia, not Michele, who was getting the attention. In the first frame of “The Life of Julia,” 3-year-old Julia is enrolled in Head Start to help her get ready for kindergarten. Under Romney, the graphic asserts, the federal budget “would cut programs like Head Start by 20 percent, meaning the program would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year.”

Never mind that Romney has not said he would cut Head Start by 20 percent. That’s an extrapolation the Obama camp makes, on the assumption that Romney would cut domestic spending equally across the board.

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