Nixon Library hosts Roosevelt impressionist

    Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News:

    Gallery: Teddy Roosevelt visits Nixon Library

    YORBA LINDA – A man with graying hair, a mustache (fake), wearing a cowboy hat, spectacles, a vest and long-tailed coat walks out on the floor of the East Room at the Nixon Library.

    His first sentence was a high-pitched “I’m deelighted to be here today,” and you knew it was President Theodore Roosevelt. In actuality it was Peter Small, a former Whittier resident who does historical impressions.

    For more than 30 minutes in front of about 150 people – mostly young children – Small, 58, of Costa Mesa, described Roosevelt’s life. Starting with his childhood bouts of asthma, Small told the president’s story including leading the charge at San Juan, Cuba in the 1898 Spanish-American War, and his presidency.

    Small finishes his presentation near the end of Roosevelt’s life in 1919.

    The presentation was part of the Richard Nixon Foundation’s series where reenactors like Small portray former presidents.

    “It’s an educational series for kids,” said Jonathan Movroydis, foundation spokesman.

    “It’s there to teach them about the presidency,” Movroydis said. “It makes sense since we’re a presidential library.”

    The portrayal of Roosevelt received good marks from the audience.

    “I liked it,” said Nathan