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Bill Clinton Gives Graduation Speech to California Middle Schoolers After Nixing UCLA Talk

It was not what was originally planned, but Bill Clinton did give a Southern California commencement speech this week.

A lingering labor dispute at UCLA kept the former president from giving a planned talk to thousands of graduates there Friday, but he spoke to all 26 middle school graduates of Riviera Hall Lutheran School in Torrance on Thursday.

Clinton's nephew Tyler, son of his brother Roger, is a student at the school.

Clinton spoke for about 10 minutes in the school's chapel about the value of education and public service, making no mention of politics at the ceremony, which was closed to the media.

"It was great," said Geoff Guerrero, whose niece was a graduate. "It was like you were sitting in his living room, and he was talking to each of us individually."

Clinton's office said Tuesday he would not appear at UCLA because of a long-running rift between the University of California and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The school said the decision to cancel the speech was mutual.