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

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman had good seats to a White House poetry slam — right near the president and first lady.

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.

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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.