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News Briefs II

Democrats Concerned Over Lack of Minorities in Key Positions

Los Angeles Times

Women and minorities have handsomely rewarded Democrats at the ballot box for promoting issues they find appealing. Yet when it comes to elevating women and minorities to congressional leadership positions, Democrats have developed something of a glass ceiling.

While public attention has riveted on House Republicans and their internecine battles for leadership posts following Newt Gingrich's resignation, Democrats also are preparing to elect their leaders in the House and Senate. And precious few women or minorities are even in the running.

That dearth is troubling some Democrats on Capitol Hill - in part out of concern that they will suffer by comparison if House Republicans next week install one or more women - as well as their sole black member - in top leadership positions.

"It's a major concern. It's certainly weighing on people's mind," a senior House Democratic aide acknowledged Thursday. "If Republicans elect a diverse leadership, compared to a Democratic leadership of, say, four white men, that would be uncomfortable."

Ellen Malcolm, head of Emily's List, a powerful fund-raising organization for Democratic women, agreed. "It's very important for Democrats to have diversity in their leadership," she said.

Literary Agent Goldberg Testifies in Linda Tripp Wiretapping Case

The Baltimore Sun

Attracting a throng of reporters and photographers Thursday, New York literary agent Lucianne Goldberg testified for 1 1/2 hours before a Howard County grand jury, saying later she had turned over tapes of conversations involving her friend Linda R. Tripp.

Goldberg, the most high-profile witness to appear before the grand jury investigating allegations that Tripp broke state wiretap law, insisted to reporters "Linda did nothing illegal" in taping former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.

Two tapes were of conversations Goldberg said she had with Tripp in 1997; two others were copies of tapes she said Tripp made of her conversations with Lewinsky.

In the two Tripp-Lewinsky tapes, Goldberg said, there is talk of "a lot of pain, a lot of anguish," and "a lot of shopping."

Unlike other witnesses who have slipped in quietly to testify, Goldberg seemed to enjoy the attention of the crowd, which included a self-described Lewinsky scandal "groupie" who wanted to see the drama unfold.

"Isn't this a great entourage," Goldberg said, laughing, as she walked to the courthouse, escorted by several county sheriff's deputies and her son, Jonah, who also testified.