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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist joins Eddie Vedder and Obama at fundraiser in Tampa



 A press pool report filed by Mark Landler of the New York Times

Raising Money with Eddie Vedder

The motorcade wended its way through Palma Ceia, a gracious South Tampa neighborhood of large homes, adjacent to a golf course. It stopped at the sprawling brick residence of Don Miggs and Lisa deBartolo, a daughter of the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Don Miggs is a singer-songwriter. 

Guests were gathered at tables and on white sofas, under a white tent in the backyard, sipping red wine and the odd tumbler of Scotch.

Among the faces in the small crowd: Charlie Crist and Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Eddie Vedder, strumming a mandolin,  started with a Pearl Jam hit, "Rise." Next he traded the mandolin for ukelele from Hawaii ("It has a little birth certificate in there," he joked). Vedder then covered a James Taylor song (couldn't immediately name that tune) and Neil Young ("Rockin' in the Free World").

"I can't say I've ever played that many songs in a suit before," Vedder said.

He then referred 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 he 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.


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 Governor Crist, saying, "I'm allowed to hug him as much as I want."

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

He said Mitt 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.

"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." 

Background from the campaign:

 Following the Univision News and Facebook “Meet the Candidate” Event on Thursday, September 20, 2012, President Obama will attend a fundraising reception in Tampa, Florida at a private residence.  Tickets for the fundraising reception start at $20,000 per person, and we expect approximately 85 people at the event.  Eddie Vedder will perform at the fundraising reception.

Proceeds from Thursday’s fundraiser will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:12pm]


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