Harry and Louise, the fictional couple who helped doom President Bill Clinton's health care plan, are back at their kitchen table.
But this time they are arguing for cloning for research, and they are already competing for airtime with new opponents: Harriet and Louis, who oppose cloning for any purpose.
The same actors who portrayed Harry and Louise in the original advertisements are in the latest ones, both created by Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli.
"What's with this stem cell research debate?" Harry asks Louise. She says that a bill in Congress would put scientists in jail for working to cure the niece's diabetes.
"Is it cloning?" Harry asks. She responds, "Nooo . . . uses an unfertilized egg and a skin cell."
The counteradvertisement, a 60-second radio spot created by Stop Human Cloning, rebuts that.
Louis says, "But their ad says they're only using a human egg and a skin cell," to which Harriet replies, "Well, that's how you make a clone."
William Kristol, chairman of Stop Human Cloning, said: "It's important to have a real debate about human embryonic cloning, not to hide behind euphemisms and deception. That's why we're releasing this response ad to set the record straight."
Harry and Louise's re-emergence was commissioned by Cures Now, a nonprofit group recently founded by entertainment industry executives to increase the public's understanding of cloning for research before the Senate debates the issue this month. The Senate is set to take up a bill offered by Senators Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, and Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, that would ban all forms of cloning.
Along with the counteradvertisements, the new "Harry and Louise" advertisements have generated criticism and legal action.
The Health Insurance Association of America, the group responsible for the original Harry and Louise campaign from the early 90's, plans to sue Cures Now and the Goddard Claussen advertising agency, officials with the association said today.
"The name and format of the advertisements are very closely associated with the H.I.A.A., and now they're being used without our permission," said Dr. Donald Young, president of the association.
Dr. Young said the group had had to deal with many questions from the public because of the perception that the association was weighing in on the cloning debate.
unknown, The New York Times. May 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.