Presidential candidates and their messages to graduates

By The Associated Press

Graduation season means commencement speeches, and many of the nation's colleges and universities are tapping the presidential candidates to deliver words of inspiration to the graduates.

Here is a sample of what has been said:

--- Republican Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, on Saturday at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich.: "History teaches us this: the best ally of peace is a strong America. As Ronald Reagan observed: 'Of the four wars during my lifetime, none of them began because America was too strong.' ... "In my view, a strong America is built upon several pillars. First, is a strong military. Teddy Roosevelt said we should 'speak softly and carry a big stick.' Lately, some of the enemies of democracy think that we speak loudly and carry a small stick."

--- Democrat John Edwards, former senator from North Carolina, on Saturday at New England College in Henniker, N.H. "The troops in Iraq today, and their families, continue to sacrifice beyond what any of us have any right to ask. So it is certainly not too much to ask that the American people sacrifice some part of Memorial Day weekend in return - to honor and remember all those who have gone before in service to our country ... and to take some small action to let our government know that we support our troops today. "If you and Americans across the country rise up and demand an end to this war, Congress will find the courage, and the president will find he has no choice."

--- Republican Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor, on May 5 at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. "Your family and friends are sure proud of you - you can feel that in this room here - but our nation is very, very proud of you also, and we're very grateful as well, because we look to you and others like you to stand on the front lines of freedom in the challenging years ahead." He said that when the graduates began their journey five years ago "your aspirations were limited only by your imagination. Our nation was at peace, or so we thought. And then on a beautiful, clear September morning, your innocence was shattered and the life of your generation and the life of our nation were changed forever. You are the 9/11 generation of national service."

--- Democrat Hillary Clinton, senator from New York, on Saturday at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C. "Think about the students from this university who braved tear gas and water hoses and beatings and bullets to protest the injustice of segregation and usher in a new era of equality and never lived to see the day of an African-American man running for president. ... "But what I'm finding is that so many students and their hardworking parents and families are balking at the cost of higher education. When they see the price tag, their hearts sink." "We need to begin by making college more affordable and accessible," she said. "I think we need to take on the student loan industry and send a clear message they will be held accountable for the way they treat and mistreat students and families."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)