Harry and Louise are back, with a better message

HARRY AND LOUISE ARE BACK, WITH A BETTER MESSAGE…. “There has to be a better way.” That was the phrase featured in conservative ads 15 years ago, when conservatives ran “Harry and Louise” ads to undermine health care reform. The ads were simple and effective — a man and woman, sitting at their kitchen table, blasting the Clinton-backed bill.

As it turns out, Harry and Louise have grown wiser in the ensuing years. The same two actors are once again discussing reform at their kitchen table, and this time, they’re right.

The New York Times‘ Natasha Singer reports today that Families USA and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — I know, strange bedfellows — are sponsoring the $4 million ad campaign, which begins this weekend. The ads will run “on channels like CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Comedy Central and on some network news and Sunday talk shows.”

“It sounds simple enough,” Harry tells Louise in the ad, just like he said in the first iteration. “A little more cooperation, a little less politics and we can get the job done this time,” Louise says.

What’s more, it’s not the only ad campaign starting this weekend. HCAN and AFSCME are also unveiling a series of new, targeted ads, which will run in nine states and cost about $800,000.

Will they have an effect? Stay tuned.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.