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WUSF News Staff
Fri September 21, 2012
President Obama Hosts Fundraiser at Tampa Home
President Obama’s fundraiser was a dinner at the home of Lisa DeBartolo and Don Miggs on Golf View Street in Palma Ceia.
A crowd of that appeared to be fewer than 100 people, including former Gov. Charlie Crist, Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback/safety Ronde Barber and prominent Tampa lawyer and Democratic fundraiser Steve Yerrid.
A campaign spokesman says about 85 people were expected - at $20,000 per person.
The event took place in a large tent in the home’s back yard, which was covered with artificial turf.
Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder began the event with a few ballads accompanied by acoustic instruments – “Rise,” from Into the Wild; “Without You,” from Ukulele Songs; “Millworker,” by James Taylor, and Rocking in the Free World.
Introducing “Without You,” he picked up his ukele and said, “I thought it might be appropriate to play a Hawaiian instrument. It’s made in Hawaii. It’s got a little birth certificate in there.”
At the end of his set, before President Obama spoke, Vedder talked to the crowd about Mitt Romney’s controversial “47 percent” comments.
He said he grew up without much money, unable to go to college, but hoping to be a musician. He said a government training program enabled him to get a job as a security guard, “and that allowed me to afford the tape recorder and Mikes I needed to keep working on music. It all began with that ability to get the proper training.
He said his fellow trainees “needed a job … they wanted to work.”
For that reason, he said, “It’s very disturbing to hear a presidential candidate be so dismissive of such a large segment of the population.”
Obama spoke for just under 20 minutes, to happy applause from the crowd.
Other than the host couple, the area is largely Republican, and neighbors appear to have planted Mitt Romney campaign signs in their yards for the occasion, in addition to making some signs of their own.
“Free markets, not free loaders,” said one sign at a home across the street; “The bro has got to go,” said another nearby.
Crowds were sparse but friendlier, waving and snapping photos, as the president’s motorcade traversed West Tampa streets including Lois and Cypress on the way to and from the airport. They had no signs or organized groups, possibly because they didn’t have time to prepare, unlike the Palma Ceia neighbors, who clearly were aware of the event in advance.