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Politics guide speeches to grads

/ Source: The Associated Press

President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their wives have chosen mostly re-election battleground states for commencement speeches this spring while maintaining the tradition of addressing military schools.

Bush chose the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo., for his annual service-academy commencement, on June 2. The motto of this year’s graduating class: “Parati ad Bellum” — “ready for war.”

The academies have agreed that only one will invite the president each year. Bush was expected to speak at the academy last year, according to the informal rotation, but decided to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s commencement.

The Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., will get Cheney for a graduation speech on May 19.

Bush gives his first commencement address May 14 at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis., one of the most hotly contested states in the election. Bush was in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

May 21, he gives a graduation speech at Louisiana State University.

Cheney in Florida
The vice president will speak at Florida State University on May 1.

Supplementing the effort in Florida, where the 2000 election was decided, first lady Laura Bush gives a commencement speech May 1 at Miami-Dade College. Ballots in Miami-Dade County were at the heart of the state’s re-count dispute.

The vice president’s wife, Lynne Cheney, will give the graduation speech at Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio, on May 1. Ohio is as coveted this year as Florida was in 2000.

Bush, who returned from his Crawford, Texas, ranch this week following a long weekend, returns there for a week starting Monday night.

En route, he appears for the last time at a fund-raiser for his re-election campaign, this time in Charlotte, N.C. It’s a makeup date for a fund raiser he canceled in February. The White House also scheduled a job-training event while Bush was in Charlotte.

Also Monday, Bush throws out the first pitch when the St. Louis Cardinals open the season at Busch Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On Tuesday, Bush attends a job-training event in El Dorado, Ark. — another tightly contested electoral state.

He returns to Washington on April 12 after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the ranch.