THEY had come to see President Clinton, and it looked like nothing could stop them.
Fourth-grader Prince Jones and his cousin Tiffany McConnaughey, a quiet third-grader, had wriggled through the knees of a thousand adults, moved along police barriers to opening where the two passed unnoticed below the eye level of a parade marshall checking for tickets.
As they emerged wide-eyed into a restricted viewing area, they quickly got a lesson about the real world. It was an officious CBS News crew that stopped Prince and Tiffany in their tracks: Thus far and no farther, was the network dictum as it jealously guarded its view for a million other Americans.
But scrambling to stand on a park bench next to a pair of newspaper reporters, the two Washington, D.C., natives were able to lay claim to a few millimeters of the view of Pennsylvania Avenue where the inaugural parade would pass.
Tiffany's mom, who had brought them downtown to see some history, had encouraged them to get the best seat they could, said Prince.
Why were they here? "To see Bill Clinton," said Prince, who added that he hadn't voted for Clinton, but his grandmother had. "And Al Gore!" piped up Tiffany, three of the few words she said all afternoon as she surveyed the scene.
In the end, the new president passed slowly by inside his car. The crowd roared, and someone excitedly asked Prince, "Did you see him?"
"See who?" he asked.