Eddie Vedder spoke about class today. At a $20,000-per-plate fundraiser in Tampa, Florida, that netted $1.7 million for President Barack Obama on Thursday (September 20), the Pearl Jam frontman took Republican candidate Mitt Romney to task for the toxic remarks he made about the “47 percent” of citizens, whom he called “entitled” and “dependent upon government” and said don’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
According to the Associated Press, Vedder told the crowd, “It’s very upsetting to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of such a ginormous amount of the population,” and added that if the former Massachusetts governor wins his electoral bid, “none of those 47 percent of people would have a voice.”
He then recounted his personal history as a struggling musician who enrolled in a government training program to prep him for a security guard job in San Diego in 1984. It was during this time that Vedder began to explore the alternative-rock sound that would revolutionize popular music in the early ’90s.
“It was that job that allowed me to also afford the guitars and tape recorder and microphones I needed to let me afford keep working on music,” he said. “It was also the job I reluctantly left to move up to Seattle for less pay, in order to join a band. It all worked out.”
Vedder later conjured a Hawaiian-made ukele, which he called a “little birth certificate,” as an additional “fuck-you.”
Billboard points out that The New York Times’ Mark Lander, reporting on the event, said Obama thanked the singer, who also performed an acoustic set that included “Rise,” “Without You,” “Millworker,” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
“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.”