Eddie Vedder Serenades Obama, Helps Raise $1.7 Mil at Florida Fundraiser

Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder

The Pearl Jam frontman played for the president and 85 guests who attended at a $20,000-per-person dinner at the home of singer-songwriter Don Miggs and Lisa deBartolo, a daughter of the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.

At an intimate dinner gathering in South Tampa, Eddie Vedder helped raise $1.7 million Thursday for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

Strumming a mandolin, Vedder played four songs for the president and 85 guests who attended at a $20,000-per-person fundraiser at the home of signer-songwriter Don Miggs and Lisa deBartolo, a daughter of the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

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"I can't say I've ever played that many songs in a suit before," Vedder said, who performed "Rise," "Without You," James Taylor's "Millworker" and Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."

According to a pool report on the event, Vedder then referred to Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments, offering a personal story.

"I'm an example of someone who never made it to university," Vedder said. "I did have this dream to be a musician. I felt that this dream had an expiration date."

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He recalled signing up for a government security guard training program. He was hired for the midnight shift, and later became the security supervisor at a petroleum company.

"It was that job which allowed me to keep affording to guitars and microphones," he said. "For me, it all began with that ability to get the proper training for a decent job….It's very upsetting to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of such a ginormous amount of the population," he said.

More excerpts from the pool report, compiled by New York Times reporter Mark Lander:

Vedder introduced Obama, who thanked him for "for that unbelievable performance but more importantly for that story."

"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," he said.

Obama gave a shout-out to former Florida Governor Charles Crist, saying, "I'm allowed to hug him as much as I want."

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Obama then delivered his standard fundraising pitch beginning with his first Kinko's-fueled campaign.

He said Romney's vision is to give tax breaks "to folks like you." He said that didn't work well the first time the US tried it.

Speaking of the great bargain of the US -- hard work will lead to success -- he said, "What's at stake in this election is preserving that bargain."

Turning to foreign policy, Obama said he'd end the war in Iraq, and he did; wind down Afghanistan, and he did; pursue Osama bin Laden, and he did.

"We're still threatened by an Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons," he said., reiterating that his policy is not allow Iran to acquire a weapon.

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"There are still extremists around the world who threaten us," Obama said.

He wrapped up with an appeal for help.

"The other side is not short on funds, they are not short on resources," Obama said of the Romney campaign.

Obama made his own reference to Romney's 47 percent, saying at the end: "I don't want their dreams constricted. And I also don't want our kids to think that somehow success is reserved for them and that somehow half the country is locked out of that success. I want everybody to be successful. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able or disabled and I want everybody to have a chance to success. That's what we're fighting for in this election."