Newsweek's Daniel Stone, an integral part of the Gaggle Family, is in Hawaii at the moment. (No, no, I'm not jealous at all. Why do you ask?) He decided to do what all the cool kids are doing in Hawaii these days: a bit of Obama tourism. Here's what he found:
You might say that Barack Obama has a pretty respectable job these days. But scan his resume and below those U.S. Senator and law professor gigs, you'll find where Obama received his very first job training. Just off Hawaii's famed Waikiki beach, a young Barack Obama (he went by Barry back then) earned his first paycheck scooping ice cream for Baskin Robbins. The store, which hasn't changed much since then, still sits in a pretty ordinary looking strip mall east of the tourist center and beach. "It was a pretty respectable job for someone his age," says Mitch Berger, who owns a tour company called Guides of Oahu that started giving tours of Obama's former neighborhood after the election. Working for a national franchise in those days meant Obama was a big deal among his friends. "He could invite his buddies around to be served at a decent place, not just any old, you know, hole in the wall," says Berger.
Of course your Gaggler, doing what anyone would do, went inside for a cone. But inside, the president's former ice cream shop looks like any plain old Baskin Robbins, color scheme and all. No plaque marking Obama's former territory. No cardboard cutout. Not even a special flavor (Ben and Jerry's already cornered 'Baracky Road' and 'Yes Pecan!'). Omar Dy, the store's owner, says he'd like to put something up if corporate would allow him. A company representative deflects back, saying the onus is on Dy to propose something for approval. All the while, we can't help but wonder: with the proven success of Obama marketing in the midst of the recession hitting the islands especially hard, wouldn't some Obama stimulus in the tourist trodden Honolulu be good for business? Who knows, it might even attract talented employees eager to emulate Obama's career.