February 16th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
1 year ago

IL Republican: Obama only arm-twisted in public

(CNN) – It’s not often that a freshman member of Congress gets a ride on Air Force One and a personal shout-out from the President himself in front of the hometown crowd. Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock got both last week but still voted against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.

After joining Obama on the presidential plane to Peoria, which is part of Schock’s congressional district, the President made a specific appeal to Schock during an event at a Caterpillar plant.

“Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,” the President said last Thursday. “He’s a very talented young man. I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria,” Obama added.

But the presidential spotlight was not enough to win over Schock.

“Ultimately, I listened to my constituents and I looked at what I knew about the bill and determined it was not in the best interests of my constituents,” the freshman Republican said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.”


Schock says the new president was kind notwithstanding their differences over how best to help the nation’s struggling economy.

Being on Air Force One “was an amazing experience,” Schock told Chief National Correspondent John King.

Related: Air Force One is one 'spiffy ride,' Obama says

“I like the President. He’s a very good guy . . . I want him to be successful. I want to vote for a stimulus bill. I appreciated his hospitality in bringing me along on the trip. . . . But at the end of the day my responsibility is to the people who gave me this job – my constituents,” the 27-year-old said.

President Obama “could not have been more cordial” onboard Air Force One, Schock said. “He waited for the hard sell, if you will, in front of the national media. That’s when I really got both of my arms twisted there in front of hundreds of my constituents and the national media when he had me stand up and basically ask my constituents to put the pressure on me.”

Like some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Schock also took issue with the legislative process that resulted in the massive stimulus bill.

“Bipartisanship is not one party writes the bill and we all vote for it. Bipartisanship means you truly meld together both sides ideas and come up with a compromise bill,” Schock told King. “That didn’t happen in this case and ultimately, that’s why I voted against it.”

Schock is currently the youngest member of the 111th Congress and was recently voted the “Hottest Freshman” in Congress in a poll of Huffington Post readers.

soundoff (777 Responses)
  1. Griff

    You cannot button anything up, with a single-thread.

    February 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Carl

    Great first month experience for the young man. I hope he represents his area well...

    February 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Gracie, MD

    Coward....

    February 15, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. djcnor

    I'll be watching this guy. I'm a liberal and probably disagree with him on a lot of issues, but I respect him for acknowledging Obama as no demon who has set out to destroy the US.

    February 15, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Theresa in Atlanta

    Welcome to Washington. I hope you have the maturity to be able to reach across the aisle and work for the best interests of the nation and NOT just be a mouthpiece for the GOP.

    February 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. steve

    Just admit that after Rush Limbaugh pressured you, you had to change your little mind.
    At the end , President Obama won and so do the American peolple.

    February 15, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Obama Binbiden

    Thank you REP. Schock... you DID do what was best for our country, the sheeple who want to follow the messiah will only see the when they are in worse trouble than they are now...

    February 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. adie

    this guy is refreshing. Thank goodness. He may even have integrity.
    It's amazing to me that people we vote to work for us in the Senate would vote for something they've never even read. Scary
    A

    February 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Hammer

    To bad more of our congressmen do not have the same attitude.

    February 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    President Obama,

    Your intentions are more than admirable. But you are dealing with a group of people who have made their party their religion, their ideology, and have quite frankly, become a cult. It's time to be cordial and civil, but move on. We must fix our eyes on 2010, and get more Dems. in the Senate. I think it's do-able. Stay encouraged. All is well.

    February 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Sam

    Well, that's how thug politics works.......

    February 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    You are discriminating in your censoring. Why?

    President Obama,

    Your intentions are more than admirable. But you are dealing with a group of people who have made their party their religion, their ideology, and have quite frankly, become a cult. It's time to be cordial and civil, but move on. We must fix our eyes on 2010, and get more Dems. in the Senate. I think it's do-able. Stay encouraged. All is well.

    February 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. MR E

    This could be your last in that air force one, Boy you blew it, IL is a blue state and will always be, who knows who is going to run against this congress man , i see a chance for democrats there

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. JC

    Finally a representative who listens to his constituents!

    This is unlike the ones who even though their offices were receiving calls against the stimulus package 9 to 1 still voted party lines.

    How refreshing!

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Hilary

    How long do you think it'll be before the GOP starts naming Schock their new star and presidential hopeful in 2012?

    I hope he voted against the bill for the reason he stated, but I tend to think that since he's such a newbie he just voted with his party. Stepping on the toes of your fellow party members is a sure way to kill your career when you're a freshman.

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Ryan

    Okay... so what's the news story here? A 27 year old is a cocky clueless douchebag hence, why he calls himself a republican. Sounds pretty business-ass-usual to me.

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. ???

    "THE PARTY" got to him.

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. MT

    I think that the Republicans are concern just for the big business. That is why the senators are against the President. I think that if the Republicans were in charge they would be one side. That means vote along the party line. I am from texas which is a Republican state which is about to change. So Senator Kay Bailey get ready you are on your way out. People are tried we had 8years of this and the Republicans didn't fix it . It is time for the Senators to take a pay cut or lose their Health care.These people are out of tough with the general Public. Thank you / Fort Worth Texas

    February 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Diana NJ

    The only thing this young man took issue with is the pressure by his party to vote NO

    February 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    this congressman may be young, but he's not stupid. You think even if he agreed with part of this package that he was going to go against Rush and the rest of the GOP? Not if he wanted a future in the party he wasn't, his NO vote was already cast for him.

    The GOP keeps saying that they had a better cheaper package. Has anybody outside the Beltway seen it? What was in it that made it better? More tax cuts for the rich? Less aide for education?
    When Bush was in office the Republicans gave him practically everything he asked for, it was the Democrats that tried to be the party of NO but failed on most occasions. I'm not too surprised that the Repubs now have decided they would turn the tables,

    February 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Polly Simpson

    Obama almost got this one right: Rep Schock did what was right for the people of Peoria and voted against Obama's Marxist bill.

    February 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Penguinn

    Something tells me Schock is in for a shock. Can we all say, "One-term wonder?"

    February 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. a good read

    A typical smacked bleep.

    February 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. kevin in Texas

    This poor kid has already been corupted by the republican't party. Bless his heart, he is in for a terrible time in congress. All the republicans want to do is be anti-obama and that won't win votes or elections kid.

    February 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Obama Cares

    shame on you schock, at least this stimulus will be staying HERE IN AMERICA, not on some unnecessary war that was based on lies, the billions and trillons of dollars that we have spent in iraq would have kept AMERICA debt free and our OWN PEOPLE would not be losing their homes and going HUNGRY.

    February 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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