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Tim, Haven’t We Heard That Before?

The spring ritual of college commencements comes around too fast for some Washingtonians who speak at graduations across the country, so many end up recycling the same lines and stories year to year. Few, though, are in the same league as Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, who has delivered dozens of graduation speeches and received honorary degrees from more than 40 schools.

Some schools publish transcripts of his speeches on the Web, and students have begun to note that Russert’s commencement addresses all sound pretty similar.

This year students at Washington University in St. Louis have protested having Russert address them at graduation, saying, “Let’s not ‘Meet the Press.’ ”

Two years ago, when Russert was set to speak as part of Harvard’s commencement exercises, two seniors, Max Brodsky and Dave Ferris, went over his old speeches and produced a bingo card of his favorite phrases. Throughout his speech, Brodsky recalls, students could be heard saying “bingo” when Russert’s words hit one of the squares.

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