Ricky Paull Goldin and Beth Ehlers by Heidi Gutman/ABC
All My Children is about to get very political. On July 24, fan fave Beth Ehlers - who recently fled from CBS' Guiding Light - will join the ABC soap as Taylor McBride, an Army lieutenant fresh from a tour in Iraq. She'll be teamed once again with GL partner Ricky Paull Goldin, who defected from that troubled soap earlier this year. Clearly, ABC hopes to re-create their supercouple magic - but don't expect Jake and Taylor to be another Gus and Harley.

"Like many great romances, this one will be born of conflict," says AMC's newly arrived head writer, Charles Pratt, Jr. "Jake and Taylor's relationship, not unlike our current presidential campaign, is a clash of ideals - the liberal versus the conservative. Taylor represents the modern warrior who is gung-ho military. For her, it's all about her country, her unit, her mission, not about the politics."

Jake, on the other hand, spent years working in Africa with Doctors Without Borders and has a "completely different take on Iraq and fervently disagrees with what's going on there," Pratt notes. Both suffer a degree of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Jake was held captive in Darfur, while Taylor, who is awaiting redeployment, was wounded in Iraq.

"The story is certainly influenced by the success of Army Wives," Pratt admits. "The goal is to present the kind of debate that's going on all over the country in a way that's entertaining and relatable and without taking sides."

It'll be interesting to watch Pratt operate, since he's the only writer-producer who freely moves between daytime ( All My Children) and prime time ( Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty). In next week's column, he'll reveal more plans for AMC, including what he's going to do about that mess called Fusion! - Michael Logan