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White House Defends Rap Artist Invitation

In this December 3, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama greets rapper Common at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, DC

The White House has defended an invitation to a Grammy award-winning singer accused of making offensive comments about former U.S. President George Bush in music lyrics.

The rap artist known as common Common was one of several performers invited to an "Evening of Poetry" at the White House on Wednesday.

White House officials said President Barack Obama does not support some of the singer's lyrics. The officials said the president appreciates, however, the singer's work with children, such as getting them involved with poetry so they can avoid "negative influences" on U.S. city streets.

In some of his past lyrics, Common criticized the former president for getting the United States involved in the Iraq war.

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