April 9th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama recounts first job—and the funny hat that went with it

CNN

Watch Obama discuss his first job.

MALVERN, Pennsylvania (CNN) – It's tough wooing women when you're wearing a brown cap and standing behind an ice cream counter, according to Barack Obama

He's speaking from experience. At a town hall in Malvern, Pennsylvania Wednesday the Illinois senator answered a question on Social Security by discussing the payroll tax, which led him to the topic of his first job.

"I was working at Baskin Robbins scooping out ice cream," Obama said. "And it was actually kind of embarrassing because you had to wear like the brown cap and stuff and the apron."

"Girls would come in. You'd be trying to talk to them. They wouldn't give you the time of day because you were in this cap."

"I was making… maybe a hundred dollars a week or something and they were still taking all this money out. I thought, man, that's the payroll tax. So it's already regressive. I don't want to raise the income tax on people who are not making a lot of money already."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Tim in Arkansas

    The Low Income Workers in PA might want to read this article carefully!!!

    Obama has worked in low paying jobs! Baskin Robbins, and even a hamburger restaurant! He knows what it's like to work in low paying jobs!!!

    How about Hillary Clinton?? NO!!!! Hillary Clinton has NO CLUE!!!! Her life has always been one of Priveledge and Standing! Such a Job is beneath Hillary!!!

    Truth is that instead Hillary worked as a Board Member and Lawyer for Wal-Mart in the 80s and early 90s, and she kept those Low Income Workers from getting the Pay that they wanted!!!!

    She did it then, she'll do it again! She doesn't represent Low Income or Middle Income Workers, instead she Represents HERSELF and Money Hungry CEOs!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Colleen McCloskey

    So this is what stands out after an Obama talk-And the media resists the notion it has a dilluted sense of self-perception–for you are trying to create a fantasy candidate – why - it sells – shame on you. – he is ill-prepared for leadership of congress and the country -and Hillary is no-nonsense lets start working which doesn't jive with fantasy seekers

    April 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Alonzo Demetrius

    Obama, it took me all my life to date to get past the lower income bracket. Why do you want to target me for higher taxes?

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Deb

    It is so unimaginable to me, that after these years of the present administration people are so eager to vote his policies back for another 4 years in the name of McCain. What are you all thinking?

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Drake

    Did Baskin pay you to tell this....oh no you don't take money ...
    RIGHT!

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Po Win

    ICE CREAM:
    The media's fanfare of Obama is an edifice of transparency. No semblance of journalistic integrity this time has been rendered; by this reckoning, we've been mired inextricably towards bolstering the frontrunner's campaign. Those who purport that the frontrunner will unite people have already demonstrated that the frontrunner will unite no one except perhaps the myopic misanthropists who, most likely, will be in a seething cauldron of woeful, broken promises teeming with scintillating rhetoric. Share this with the superdelegates.

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Jenny Sprowl

    I see what's it's like here... Hillary tells a lame joke and that means she is a strong woman.. Obama tell a true little story and you want to make fun of him. You Clinton people are as two faced as she is.

    Open your eyes and smell the roses.. Clinton is not going to win. Now stop crying and playing kiddy games and get over it.

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. LATINA VOTER

    WHO CARES

    HILLARY '08

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Rebekah P.

    I love this story! It's about time we had someone who knows what it's like to be a regular person!

    Obama in '08!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Diing, Washinton, DC

    Would n't be nice to have a guy who knows the pain of the American people?

    Community organizer
    Civil Right Attorney
    Stae Legislator
    US Legislator
    Constitutional law Lecturer
    and several others
    Forks, this is the guy.

    April 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. CHERYL

    THAT IS A LOVELY STORY!!!!

    BUT............ HILLARY STILL LEADS IN THE POLLS!!

    BECAUSE PEOPLE DO NOT TRUST OBAMA!!!!

    I SURE DON'T!!!!!

    GO SENATOR CLINTON GO!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. The Austrian

    Income taxes aren't fair to anyone, Mr. Obama, even those making loads of cash.

    But I suppose I'm a radical for suggesting we do away with the income tax. Seemed to work for us in our infancy, but now we're "progressive."

    What a sham.

    April 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. SN from MN

    Did he get canned from that job?

    April 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Tanaya

    Obama wasn't born into the life he has now, he had to struggle and work hard. Nothing was handed to him, except maybe that hat and apron, but then again it could have been tossed at him. America needs a true American to be president.

    I bet those girls regret not talking to him now.

    Thomas For Hillary you are mean little man and I feel sorry for you.

    April 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. SN from MN

    He still looks funny.

    April 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Mike

    Perhaps Rev. Wright can answer this for you?

    What was the flavor of the month, chocolate or vanilla?

    Go Hillary!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Adam Florey

    Barack's "I can connect to the real people" campaign continues, First bar hopping, then bowling, hockey in North Dakota....what's next? A photo-op reading Playboy? He is so insincere.

    April 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Thomas, LA

    Obama is the man!

    Character, integrity, and intelligence.

    Also 3 thinks Hillary's lacking.

    April 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. JN

    I worked at Baskin Robbins too as my first job and Barack is right...the uniform was embarrasing and back in 1982 I was making $4.00 an hour..which is even more embarrasing....Thanks for sharing your story Barack...it was really cute!! Just goes to show what a down to earth guy he really is compared to the prickly character of Billary Clinton!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Yes Obama, you are intouch with the regularly people. You have experienced what we are going through and wants to make a difference by being the next Prez of USA.

    April 9, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Cindy

    Go back to Baskin Robin's!!!!

    April 9, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. DavidSC

    Um, let's see, let's read between the lines. I will not tax those not making much already. Translation: I am Robin Hood, I will tax the rich and give to the poor – or – let's put it another way: I am a socialist and my solutions to everything, if I become president, will be to redistribute the wealth!

    Mr. Obama, socialism is not the equal distribution of wealth – it is the equal distribution of misery – to quote some famous person. Thanks, but no thanks, I won't be voting for you.

    McCain '08 – the only viable candidate.

    April 9, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. gary

    OBAMA WOULD BE BETTER OFF BEHIND AN ICE CREAM COUNTER. THATS ABOUT ALL THE EXPERIENCE HE HAS ,BESIDE'S CONING THE AMERICAN DREAM TO THE YOUTH WITH HIS SMOOTH SPEECHES. PROMISING THINGS THAT HE CAN NOT DELIVER.HRC IS OUR ONLY HOPE FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. SHE IS RED, WHITE AND BLUE ALL THE WAY THROUGH. SHE WILL FIGHT FOR US TO THE END. GO HRC

    April 9, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. karen

    HP, Don't bash Obama's ears! They make him look a little like ET. AND... he obviously knows how to listen with 'em!

    April 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Jot

    Obama we still don't know what you heard in your church when your pastor was slumming America. We don't know what your religion was before you were baptized by Wright. Who cares about your hat we need the whole story about the hatred church you attended for 20 yrs

    April 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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