Obama campaign says Romney-supported actions hurt women
(CNN) — The Obama campaign renewed its focus on women voters Thursday with a stepped up attack on Mitt Romney.
A data-filled memo alleges the budget cuts, tax reform and social policy Mitt Romney supports will disproportionately hurt middle- and low-income women.
Along with the memo, the campaign links to a web tool called “The Life of Julia,” which follows the character from the age 3 to 67, suggesting how one such woman would be impacted by the policies of the two Presidential candidates.
For example, under President Obama, Julia at age 23 can fight for a right to equal pay, because he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, according to the web tool. But Julia doesn’t know her fate under a President Romney because he hasn’t said whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Act.
With President Obama in the White House Julia at age 67 receives full Social Security benefits and volunteers at a community garden. Under President Romney, the tool says, her benefits “could be cut 40%”.
The campaign is releasing the tool and memo on the same day Romney plans to appear with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is widely believed to be among the top contenders for the GOP vice presidential slot.
McDonnell has become something of a lightening rod among left-leaning women’s groups after he supported – then modified – legislation that would have required women seeking abortion to submit to an invasive ultrasound before the procedure.
In the memo, the Obama campaign tries to tar Romney with the McDonnell controversy.
Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter writes: “Romney and McDonnell share an extreme agenda on women’s health and economic security.”
First portraying Romney’s positions as anti-woman – he’d “defund Planned Parenthood”, cut investments in education “that disproportionately hurt women” and weaken “women’s health and retirement security,” — Cutter goes on to say “Gov. McDonnell has resorted to running television ads to try and improve his reputation among Virginia women after pushing through a law that mandates women undergo ultrasounds that doctors say serve no medical purpose.”
“At the same time they’re making more promises to take us backward … President Obama will move us forward,” Cutter says “Forward” is the first of the Obama campaign’s mottos.
Cutter also seeks to win women’s support by pointing out the president was raised by a single mother and is the father of two girls. Translation: he “gets it.”
Because the memo was released to reporters overnight, a response wasn’t immediately available from the Romney campaign, but it has addressed the issue before.
“The U.S. economy is a hostile workplace for women under President Obama,” Ed Gillespie, a senior advisor to the Romney campaign, said earlier on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We look forward to this debate.”
And modifying a line Mitt Romney used in a primary night speech, Gillespie said, “it’s still the economy and women aren’t stupid.”
Responding to the new “Julia” campaign, the Republican National Committee came out with its own version of Julia’s life since Obama took office.
“Julie is bummed. Her share of the national debt went up $16,345 under Obama,” an RNC release read.
In another example, the RNC said: “Julia the commuter has to pay double for gas from what she paid 4 years ago.
“The group posted a series of similar statements on Twitter with the hashtag “#Julia.”
The fight for the women’s vote has been fierce and will no doubt continue to be until Election Day. That’s in part because women are reliable voters so both campaigns will target them.
But the President has an added incentive to go after women — he has a ceiling among white men.
CNN polling shows his approval among white men averages 36-37% with only short-lived bursts of higher approval.
During the 2008 election he performed far better among white men, winning 41% of their vote.
The campaign is working to make up for this in a number of ways: making sure the African-American turnout is high, registering young voters, and turning out Latinos and first-time voters as well.
But women voters can make the biggest difference of all, which is why they’re getting so much attention.