Eddie Vedder rejected Mitt Romney's recent characterization of 47 percent of Americans as people who see themselves as victims who don't pay income taxes. "It's very upsetting to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of such a ginormous amount of the population," Vedder said yesterday at a fundraiser for President Obama in Tampa, Florida, according to a pool report passed along by The Hollywood Reporter.
Vedder, who played a short set for Obama at the home of singer-songwriter Don Miggs and Lisa DeBartolo (daughter of former San Francisco 49ers owenr Eddie DeBartolo Jr.), shared his own story of how government programs helped him.
"I'm an example of someone who never made it to university," Vedder told the small crowd. "I did have this dream to be a musician. I felt that this dream had an expiration date."
Vedder went on to recall signing up for a government security guard training program, which led to a midnight shift and position as security supervisor at a petroleum company.
"It was that job which allowed me to keep affording to guitars and microphones," the Pearl Jam frontman said. "For me, it all began with that ability to get the proper training for a decent job."
Vedder then introduced President Obama, who thanked the musician. "For you to share that story with us, Eddie, speaks volumes not only about you but about this country," Obama said. "That story captures better than anything what this campaign is about and what this country is about."
Vedder's four-song set on mandolin comprised "Rise," "Without You," a cover of James Taylor's "Millworker" and Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."
"I can't say I've ever played that many songs in a suit before," Vedder said to the 85 guests, who paid $20,000 each for the dinner event.