St. Paul Mayor Coleman gets good seats at White House poetry slam

WASHINGTON — St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was in Washington Wednesday, where he attended a poetry slam at the White House.

“Just got a succinct email fr @ re his the WH poetry night: “That was so freaking cool!” Sat next to @ & FLOTUS.” wrote Coleman Communications Director Richard Carlbom on Twitter. FLOTUS is D.C. shorthand for First Lady of the United States, in this case Michelle Obama.

A Coleman spokesman said he had no public events while in D.C., and a White House spokesman said he wasn’t aware of any formal meetings between Coleman and White House officials. The mayor returned to Minnesota Thursday morning.

The event, officially a celebration of poetry, had attracted some controversy because of the inclusion of rapper Common, with some police groups citing an objection to one of his songs that celebrates a woman convicted in the 1970s of killing a New Jersey highway patrol officer. She escaped from prison some time ago and is living in Cuba in asylum, according to NBC News.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Common “isn’t known as a gangster rapper; in general his lyrics have championed such non-controversial topics as community, self-respect, peace, romance, and black men living up to their responsibilities as fathers.” The White House distanced itself from that song but defended inviting the rapper.

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