Inauguration: UT Student Rubs Elbows with Political Bigshots

Adriana Corso, a UT senior, attended the Presidential Inauguration. During her 10-day trip, she spotted many politicians and met Hilary Rodham Clinton.

JR: What are you doing in Washington DC for the inauguration?

AC: I am participating in a weeklong program with the Washington Center, attending different events and lectures all week. There are almost 800 students doing the program. We listen to different speakers every morning from 8:30 until 2 and then we go see monuments and museums around the city. We also write journals and had the opportunity to write memos to the president on how we think he should conduct his presidency and use his power.

JR: What kinds of lectures do you attend?

AC: I have seen all kinds of speakers. I met a secret service agent who had guarded the Pope and Queen Elizabeth. I heard a lecture from the Palestinian Ambassador which was interesting considering the current situation.

JR: Have there been any particularly interesting moments?

AC: Yes. We saw an episode of CSPAN filmed. Dana Perino, Bush’s White House Press Secretary, spoke on CSPAN. Ted Koppel came on right after her. When Koppel came on the show he called Dana Perino a liar because she had said that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with oil. It was interesting to see these people interacting in such intense debates.

JR: What other cool people have you seen?

AC: I saw part of Senator Clinton’s confirmation hearing. John Kerry, who is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations committee was there. It was like walking into my favorite rock concert and I was sitting in the front row. They were talking about Clinton’s involvement with education and the affect that Bill’s fundraising would have on her position as Secretary of State. We also got to see Eric Holder’s hearing. Comparing the two hearings was incredible. Senator Clinton was so comfortable and confident and intelligent. Holder was fumbling and nervous, and just looked like a wreck.

JR: What did you think of Senator Clinton?

AC: Actually, I got to meet her! After her hearing we waited around to see her but she never came out. When we left, my friend realized he’d forgotten his gloves so we ran back to the building to get them. When we got there, Senator Clinton and Chelsea Clinton were walking down the front steps. I introduced myself and congratulated her on her confirmation as Secretary of State. She was so nice and told me she thought my coat was cute. Chelsea asked us what we were doing and about our program. They were so normal and took the time to talk to us and take a picture with us.

JR: Have you had the chance to see a lot of sites in DC? What was your favorite?

AC: It was really cool to see the House and Senate floors. I got to see the seat where Nancy Pelosi sits, which was awesome. I also really liked the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. In the museums I saw the Watergate door, the Magna Carta and pieces of the Berlin Wall and a piece of one of the twin towers.

JR: What inauguration events have you attended so far?

AC: I went to the Lincoln Memorial Inauguration concert. It was crazy. There were over 500,000 people there, and we were about thirty people away from the stage. Stevie Wonder, Usher and Shakira were awesome onstage. Garth Brooks did the best job pumping up the crowd, which surprised me. I am excited because I also get to go to the Black Tie and Boots Ball and the All American Ball. Basically, people are going to get dressed up and celebrate and have a good time. I am really hoping Obama shows up at one of them.

JR: What has been your favorite part of this experience?

AC: Meeting Senator Clinton was definitely my favorite part. I think being able to watch our elected officials working and in action during hearings and meetings has been such a great experience.

Jillian Randel can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Back To Top