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Eddie Vedder: Government assistance helped me as a youth

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performs during the Hard Rock Calling festival held in Hyde Park on June 25, 2010, in London. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

(CBS/AP) TAMPA, Fla. - A government assistance program helped train him as a security guard so he could finance his musical ambitions, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder said at a campaign event for Barack Obama.

Pictures: Pearl Jam

Vedder, 47, outlined his youthful struggles in response to GOP nominee Mitt Romney's caught-on-tape comments about those seeking government help. The singer-songwriter was performing at a private fundraiser for the president.

Citing Romney's statement that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves victims and entitled to government help, Vedder said it's "very upsetting" to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of what Vedder called "such a ginormous amount of the population."

The rocker, who was born in Chicago and grew up in California, said if Romney were to win the White House, "none of those 47 percent of people would have a voice."

Before he and his Grammy-winning band hit it big, Vedder supported himself as a waiter, security guard, and shop clerk.

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