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Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder blasted Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney over the latter's "47 percent" comments during a fundraiser for incumbent President Barack Obama, according to the Associated Press. Romney has drawn harsh criticism for comments he made at a May fundraiser, which were disclosed last week on a video, in which he characterized the approximate 47 percent of the U.S. population that doesn't pay federal income tax -- while still paying a number of other taxes -- as people who saw themselves as victims entitled to government handouts.
Speaking at the Obama fundraiser, during which he also played a short solo set, Vedder said, "It's very upsetting to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of such a ginormous amount of the population."
Vedder added that a government-sponsored training program for security guards helped him early in life, allowing him to make a living while also pursuing his dream of becoming musician.
He explained., "It was that job which allowed me to keep affording to guitars and microphones. 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 and said, "For you to share that story with us, Eddie, speaks volumes not only about you but about this country. That story captures better than anything what this campaign is about and what this country is about."
Vedder played his set on mandolin, performing "Rise," "Without You," a cover of James Taylor's "Millworker" and Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World."
The event, which took place at the home of Lisa DeBartolo, daughter of former San Francisco 49ers owenr Eddie DeBartolo Jr., raised $1.7 million from its 85 guests for the President's re-election.
Vedder, who's become very politically outspoken in the past decade, told us a while back that he was reluctant to voice his opinion earlier in his career: "I've always been wary, you know, speaking from some kind of a podium as a singer in a rock band. First of all, I think it's ridiculous that it should be left to the singers of rock bands to have to bring up these issues. But then again, the arts are always going to reflect society, and there could be a responsibility there."