Common visits the White House at Michelle Obama’s request

But Sarah Palin and other Republicans aren't the rapper’s biggest fans

Common was a guest at the White House in Washington DC last night (May 11), after Michelle Obama invited him to a poetry event at the President‘s official residence.

The First Lady asked Common to join other performers for The White House‘s ‘An Evening Of Poetry’ event. But several US rightwingers including Sarah Palin were unhappy that the rapper – real name Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr – was invited to take part.

Palin – the former Governor of Alaska – posted a link to a story detailing Common‘s involvement in the evening at followed by the message: “Oh lovely, White House…”. Karl Rove – a former political advisor to George Bush – meanwhile, described the rapper as a “thug”, a “misogynist” and “a guy who’s called for violence against a police officer” in an interview with Fox News.

White House spokesman Jay Carney defended the decision to invite the rapper. “While the President doesn’t support the kind of lyrics raised here, we do think some of the reports distort what Mr Lynn stands for more broadly in order to stoke controversy,” he said.

In 2008 Common pledged his support to Barack Obama, saying: “I really do believe we as hip-hop artists pick up what’s going on in the world. I think hip-hop artists will have no choice but to talk about different things and more positive things. Try to bring a brighter side to that because, even before Barack, I think people had been tired of hearing the same thing.”