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IN CONGRESS

FOR WOMEN

TWO U.S. WOMEN CLARE LUCE AND ACTRESS (By MIRIAM OTTENBURG) WASHINGTON. On our right, Clare Boothe Luce, honey-haired second-term representative from Connecticut. Republican. On our left, Helen Gahagan Douglas, wife of the film star. Melvyn Douglas, statuesque freshman representative from California. Democrat. Of course there are several hundred other Congressmen around, but the poking, pointing and whispering in the visitors'* galleries is directed at the former playwright and the former actress who have found their way to Congress. Both are brilliant, feminine and attractive. The much-fcubUcised glamour battle of Capitol Hill had an opening round in Chicago, when Mrs. Luce and Mrs. Douglas spoke at their respective National Conventions —and inevitably were compared.

It's been going on ever since as far as everybody but the principals are concerned. Mrs. Douglas tried to squelch it a few davs after she took her seat. At a party given by the National Women's Press Club, she said she resented attempts to "Jockey Mrs. Luce and myself into a feud." Then she leaned across the table, extending her hand to her blonde colleague and the two women shook hands vigorously. But people go right on making comparisons. They tot up the score this way: Mrs. Luce sot there first. That has had its advantages and its disadvantages. What Male Colleagues Say As one of her. male colleagues put it, "Some of us were pretty suspicious at first and maybe we didn't like the idea of her being the centre of attraction. We heard she had ghost writers, but when she eot up there on her feet and talked, answering right back Avithout any notes, some of us changed our minds." Buttonhole another colleague, also male, and you get this: "She's very pretty . . . I'm not going to be quoted, am I? She's got a brilliant mind but you can tear her speeches apart. Of course, I wouldn't want to be the one to do it." • * The gentlewoman from Connecticut—as she is referred to when a gentleman from some other State is trying to interrupt her on the House floor—has another advantage over the gentlewoman from California in that she has been to Europe twice. Question of "Foreign Affairs" Mrs. Luce, in her maiden speech, coined "globaloney" to characterise the then Vice-President Wallace's post-war theories and promptly launched reams of pro-and-con debate and some sharp remarks from Mr. Wallace and Mrs. Roosevelt. Mrs. Douglas has made sober speeches on vital topics, ranging from lend-lease to Lanham Act Funds. She says she makes no pretence to being a wit, that the times are too serious for verbal give-and-take.

On the matter of committees—an important prestige item on Capitol Hill—both women came to Congress hoping for a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mrs. Luce failed to get her choice and wound up on the Military Affairs Committee, which has since become one of the most powerful, in Congress. Mrs. Douglas drew Foreign Affairs. The former actress said with just the faintest hint of a smile that she had not known Mrs. had ever wanted Foreign Affairs until after she was named to the committee.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450717.2.8

Bibliographic details

IN CONGRESS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 167, 17 July 1945

Word Count
521

IN CONGRESS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 167, 17 July 1945

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