reaction to Clinton: intelligence and charisma make the man
Nancy Chapman, Public Affairs
Bundled in mufflers and gloves, a crowd of students and invited guests
waited outside Zellerbach Hall last Tuesday, in the winter chill, to
see a past U.S. president. Not just any past president, but Bill Clinton.
the man," one student said.
yet graduated from grade school when Clinton took office in 1993. For
others, like Robin Witter, a senior, Bill Clinton was the first president
for whom they ever voted. "Ive always loved him" she
said. "I had confidence in him. After Sept. 11, I was really scared
and wished he were there."
Clinton was a good role model because he "came from nowhere, showing
that you dont have to have a presidential father to be president."
talk in Zellerbach was on globalization, but he could have talked about
vertebrate limb formation and still drawn a full house. His charisma,
celebrity, and intelligence were paramount.
didnt even know what he was talking about until I saw it printed
on my ticket," said student Punita Juneja.
ticketless, but were hanging around to see if they could snag a last-minute
fortunate told stories, as they waited in the pale winter sunlight, about
the challenges theyd overcome in order to score a ticket. "I
was among the front 20 in line," said one student. "I got an
apple thrown at my head."
Sheila Slavin wanted to see Clinton so badly that her boss gave
her a ticket.
such a good speaker, and its refreshing to hear something
intelligent from a politician," she said of Clinton. Her
friend, Janie Ellison of electrical engineering and computer
sciences, came because "hes a dynamic man. Not that
I approve of his personal life, but hes not the only one
whos done that."
Rubiano, an aide to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, had a coveted ticket.
Jack McCredie, associate vice chancellor of information systems and technology
who considers such events one of the campuss great perks.
"Berkeley attracts such wonderful, controversial speakers,"
past president is worth hearing," said his wife, Yvonne, in less
glowing terms than some. "I thought he was a good president, not
in Zellerbach limited, the campus arranged for a live simulcast in the
Haas Pavilion, to which 300 were admitted.
Vera, a student hurrying for a place in that line, "Hes enigmatic,
charismatic, pretty popular. Hes a man of the people, connected
with students and the working class."
high expectations, surely the audience would feel some letdown as they
streamed out of Zellerbach afterward. Not so. Kathleen Barry, who attended
Berkeley in the '60s, jumped up and down in the plaza in mock anguish.
"I cant bear it. Hes so smart. I want him for president.
I miss him so much, " she said.
departing audience member, sophomore Samir Gupte, called Clintons
appearance "entertaining, good, informative, enlightening. You absorb
a lot of information." Gupte had bought a ticket off a fellow student
for $50 just that afternoon. "I knew Id get my moneys
worth," he said. "I came expecting a lot, and I got a lot more."
middle school student Rachell Hacker had scored a hand shake and autograph
from the former president as he worked his way across the front of the
stage following his Q&A with Journalism Dean Orville Schell.
can't believe it," beamed the sixth grader. "I'll never wash
my hand again."
Full coverage of former President Bill Clinton at UC Berkeley