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Streisand returns

Los Angeles, Sept. 30 (AP): Barbra Streisand emerged from semi-retirement last night, headlining a Hollywood gala that raised some $6 million towards Democratic efforts to take back control of Congress.

The performer took the stage for a nine-song set at the Kodak Theatre, home of the Oscars, as top House Democrats including House minority leader Dick Gephardt and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the minority whip, looked on. The sum was a fund-raising record for the Democratic Congressional campaign committee, said spokeswoman Jenny Backus. Streisand, a longtime backer of liberal causes and candidates, last week sent Gephardt a forceful letter urging him to stand up to President George W. Bush on Iraq and chiding: “It is time for the Democrats to get off the defensive and go on the offensive.”

There was no sign of hard feelings as Gephardt thanked Streisand for her help, saying in a programme note: “We all feel so fortunate to be able to attend any event in which Barbra Streisand performs.”

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