While some politicians run for the holiday hills from Barack Obama’s coal-filled stocking approval rating, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch embraces him, so much so the mayor mailed a holiday card featuring his family in a photo taken with the president during his campaign stop in Bridgeport for Governor Malloy on the eve of the November election.

Mailed at a cost of less than $200, according the mayor’s office, the holiday cards made their way to a variety of constituents, business and elected officials.

Republican City Councilman Enrique Torres, pondering a third run for the mayoralty, says “It’s one thing if you send it out of your own pocket. To use city funds to do that is disgusting.”

Finch is also spending $250,000 on a taxpayer-paid marketing campaign of the city. Finch’s 2011 Democratic primary opponent Mary-Jane Foster claims hizzoner is using public funds to aid his reelection next year.

“Taxpayers deserve to be reimbursed for all of the costs of his public relations campaign,” says Foster. “Let the mayor do the right thing and start spending from his enormous re-election campaign funds. Then instead of crying poverty, he can use those dollars to actually fund the public school system. Now that would really be a public relations win.”

The mayor says the idea for the family photo with the president came from his eight year old son.

“In November, President Obama visited our state’s largest city,” says Finch. “My eight year old son, Aiden, had an idea for the whole family to pose for a photo with our country’s chief executive. We all agreed because President Obama is a strong friend to Bridgeport.”

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