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Unlikely place to watch inauguration: Nixon Library

January 20, 2009 | 10:00 am

Nixon While excited about the inauguration, Candice Katayama, 42, didn't feel at home marking the occasion at any of the Democratic viewing parties she knew of.

The lifelong Republican from the city of Orange, after all, cast her first Democratic vote in November for Barack Obama. So she and her former boss went to an unlikely place, the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, joining about two dozen employees and schoolchildren who applauded as they sat in rows of chairs watching the ceremony on a large TV mounted outside an exhibit on inaugurations throughout history.

"It's a little weird," Katayama admits. "But I came to this evolution that this country isn't about labels anymore. It's about hope."

Her boss, Tom Roddel, 69, of Tustin, also a Republican who supported Obama, brought doughnuts to celebrate the orator who reminds him of John F. Kennedy. He nodded as Obama touched on themes of unity during his speech.

"What better place to witness a historic event?" he said.

Timothy Naftali, the museum's director, said the federally run facility opened its doors early because he wanted to make sure people in the area had a presidential locale at which to mark the historic day, regardless of politics.

"It shouldn't matter what your political affiliation is, today is a great day," he said. "Anyone with a sense of history knows this is a day people died for."

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Los Angeles Times photo