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