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

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


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. I.S.1775

    This is really raising the level of public debate. 6 comments on here that I have read and only one of them positive.

    sad sad sad sad

    April 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Alex H

    It's interesting to hear the nostalgia stories starting to surface and the messages they're trying to portray.

    Hillary's: I've lived/vacationed everywhere. I have a connection with everyone

    Obama: I've worked minimum wage jobs just like the rest of you. I have a connection with everyone.

    I worked at Burger King when I was 14 and I fully understand the inability to pick up chicks in that uniform ^_^

    April 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. King of NJ

    I had the same cap except mine was Boston Market!
    Those where the days! lmao!

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

    How refreshing! Obama was not a child of privledge-nor is he a multimillionaire. He and Michelle held down main stream jobs.Those 2 factors speak volumes. I have every confidence in a person who can run a campaign as brillantly as Obama. We don't have to worry about how the country's busines is run with Obama as Commander In Chief. I also learned something new today about Obama's mother, she graduated from a high school that is in shouting distance from Seattle, WA. If that fact had been known here when Obama last appeared in Seattle, there would have more than the 35,000 that turned out at Key Arena wanting to join him for the speaking event.. We just finished step 2 of selecting WA state's delegates for Obama this past Sat. 1,600 pro Obama supporter showed up in my district to start the narrowing down process for the lucky people who will go to the Denver Convention to affirm Obama as the only Democrate candidate for President. I'm sure there were thousands more WA. state wide investing time last Sat. in support of Obama.

    April 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. HP Boston

    Yeah BO scoop us up some more hope and change. Put chocolate sprinkles on mine. Do you think you can get that order wright?

    April 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. d

    Please..................we have all been there. This guy knows what its like to be an average guy?? I think NOT. He has been groomed for his political ambitions. We need Politicians who have NOT grown up within our Political System period. I think this is the first time that Senators are actually running (all the candidates I mean). We need someone from OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY. Our Politicians have become so corrupted, listening to lobbyists, big companies, minority groups, they have very little time for the "we the people". I might add that each major candidate DOES HAVE A LOBBYIST in the higher tiers of their campaign. Why is that??? So much for change??

    April 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Tim

    Whats the difference between this and the Hillary stories? The one where she group up poor with TWO houses. Or the one where she and her 16 yr old daughter dodged sniper fire in Bosnia while having the time to greet a little girl. Or the one with pregnant woman who was denied access to a hospital because she didnt have insurance.

    Oh wait, I know the difference, this one isnt a LIE.

    April 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Mike

    Lucky for you that you married into a rich wife. But you were able to pay her back by earmarking her company with 1 million dollars as senator. That enabled her to get a 200,000 raise upon his election.

    April 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. mama4obama

    Corey in Maryland....you hit the nail on the head.

    Obama 08

    April 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. David In Des Moines

    Ice cream scoopers for Obama 2008!

    April 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. jl

    At least he understands what it is like to WORK.

    If Hillary cannot convince her own husband about the changes that need to be made with free trade in order to save AMERICAN JOBS, then how in the world will she convince anyone else?


    April 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Kim

    I guess success is a bad thing, you people better remember that everyone had to struggle at one point, even if the second generation had it better, the first generation struggled to make it better for the next and so on, we seem to be getting to a point in this country where wealth due to hard work is some sort of dirty thing, but remember, just because someone may be priveledge now or was priviledge growing up, someone had to bust their but so that the individual could have a better life, so your little comments about Obama knowing what the people are going through is foolish, don't you think Hillary know what it's like? she didn't grow up on her money, she grew up on the sweat of her mother and father and was blessed with the brains to get accepted to an ivory league school, but all of that was on the sweat of her hardworking parents, you people have no logic whatesoever.

    April 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Mike

    A Democrat who does not want to raise my taxes AND will end the War? If I was not a man I would kiss him.

    April 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. angela

    This is pathetic, great coverage of the issues as per normal by CNN. So Obama had a job at baskin robins who cares hillary also worked her way through college and law school. These purile stories will not help anybody decide who will be the best person to be president try writing about the issues and how the candidates plan to solve them, this is not American Idol this is the presidency of the United States, no wonder there are so many problems in the world if you are all too busy concerned about fluff stories.

    April 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. John Smith

    Hillary still leads in which polls, Cheryl, please educate me!

    April 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    This is also why as democrats, we're all gonna have to be united behind our nominee, whoever is our nominee, Clinton or Obama.

    When I hear here Hillary supporters or Obama supporters telling they'll never vote for the other candidate if their candidate is not the nominee, I find this kind of statement and behaviour, deeply ans strongly stupid, sad ans desperate.

    I fully support Obama in this contest, but before being an Obama supporter I am a democrat and I want the best for our country, a ademocrat in the WH to fix our problems.

    If Obama wins the nomination, it means that his message would've been stronger and more powerfull than Hillary's one. Same thing if Hillary wins the nomination.

    Whoever is the nominee, as democrats we'll have to support this person for the good of our country, doing the contrary would be racist, childish and shameless for us, as democrats.

    No one of these 2 candidates is perfect and would be a perfect president, but both of them will be 200% better than McCain, this election of 2008 is ours, if we loose it just because some selfish persons didn't vote for our nominee because their candidate wouldn't have won the nomination, what a shame for our party !!!

    Henry, NY

    April 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Jon

    Yeah right, Boprah.

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. IH

    At least I know he is not misspeaking or fibbing, unlike Hillary, while he talks about his life. I am not saying Obama is perfect, but it's nice for a change to at least be able to trust a politician somewhat; something you can't do with GOP or Old Democrats.
    -ex-Hillary Supporter

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |

    I don't understand people that say if their Dem nominee doesn't win, they'll vote republican. What is wrong with you!? Haven't they messed it up enough!? I'm not crazy about either candidate, but whoever get it, i will vote democratic.

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Rachel from Portland

    that was my first job too!! woohoo!!

    OBAMA '08

    And since we relate so much he should stick me on the ticket bahahha.

    April 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Photon Torpedo

    LOL! Don't remind me Senator! We've all been there. First job and happy to be making some money... then the payroll, property & fed taxes... after a while it gets irritating.

    But thanks for that bit of nostalgia.

    Yes We Can & Yes We Should!
    Obama 08'

    Photon Torpedo
    Dallas, TX

    April 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. NOBAMA

    Please Corey from Maryland, how can you compare working at an ice cream store as a teen to having a real job with real bills? Obama has never done a real days work in his life. He knows nothing about being an average guy. Maybe when America wakes up and sees him for what he really is, he can get his job back at Baskin Robbins or maybe Oprah needs someone to park he car.

    GOBAMA and take your finally proud to be an American wife with you!

    April 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Thomas For Hillary

    I stand by what I said and I mean it. Cause I am sure he is a better ice cream scooper than a president. Please, some of the things the Obama supporters say about Hillary on here are past ridiculous. So none of you Obama supporters can talk, some of the craziest people I have ever seen in my life.

    April 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. NickNas

    That is SOOOOO Right. I had the Pizza hut outfit to deal with...........BUT the Tight black pants helped. I bet Hillary has NEVER scooped even her OWN icecream

    April 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Independent

    I can't believ that people actually say they will vote for the opposite party if their favorite candidate doesn't get the nod. That sounds like an 8 year ild throwing a tantrum. Grow up. Their is not that much difference with the two dem cand's. You should be voting for someone that best reflects your beliefs, values and views. If your fav doesn't get noominated you really vote for the other party even though they don't represent anything you believe in? that is stupid.

    April 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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