Brazile told Gibson she was struck by Aretha Franklin's stirring rendition of "My Country, Tis of Thee," moved when the Rev. Rick Warren invoked what Dr. Martin Luther King would think of the day's festivities, and brought to tears when Rep. John Lewis of Georgia -- a legend of the civil rights movement -- became misty-eyed during the ceremony.
She also noted that the exclusive seats got her a glimpse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the only black person on the panel, who, she said, was overcome by emotion.
"I have a picture, I believe, of Clarence Thomas wiping tears from his eyes," said Brazile.
She then cracked, "or he was yawning."
That joke, a not-so-subtle swipe at Thomas, who, because of his conservative views, many African Americans think has turned his back on the black community.
But the inauguration of the country's first black president brought tears to the eyes of many African Americans, especially those like Thomas and Brazile, who came of age during the time of Jim Crow and segregation.