Post-Op President (3/14/97)
Cashing In On President's Knee
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 3) -- President Bill Clinton has become the unwilling poster boy for physical therapy in a full-page newspaper ad touting his successful recovery from knee surgery.
The advertisement, sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association, shows a series of three pictures of the president depicting his progression from a wheelchair to crutches to walking unaided.
The text of the ad credits Clinton's speedy rehabilitation to physical therapy, saying that the president only missed two days of work and was able to travel abroad only six days after surgery. "Now after two months of treatment by physical therapists, Bill Clinton is walking again," it reads.
"Looking good, Mr. President! Could physical therapy help you?" the ad continues.
Despite the healthy image portrayed of Clinton, the White House is not happy about the image of the president being used in a commercial advertisement. "It's against White House policy to use the image of the president for the endorsement of a product, regardless of its merits," presidential spokeswoman April Mellody said today.
Mellody predicted that the White House counsel's office would write a letter to the American Physical Therapy Association. "The counsel's office takes a dim view of it," she said.
The final photograph of Clinton walking and waving with no help could also be considered misleading, because the president is currently using a cane.
Pearson Brown, a spokeswoman for the association, said the ad was "just one in a series. We went very broad with this one." Brown does not think that permission was requested from the White House before running the ad.
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