February 16th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
2 years 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. Steve C

    Obama thought he was just so smooth inviting this young congressman on AF 1 and then shaming him in public to "do the right thing". If this is the Presidents MO then we are dealing with a complete novice.

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Nate

    Here's what I didn't like about this interview, and what is so frustrating about the media these days:
    Rep. Schock was saying how he didn't vote for the stimulus bill because he listened to his constituents and they agree with him that it isnt going to do what is needed to stimulate the economy. The next logical question should be, "What do you think WOULD stimulate the economy?"
    But instead, the interviewer decided to ask him about what it was like being on air force one with Pres. Obama. And as Rep. Schock was answering, he started giving a real substantive response about what was wrong with the bill. So the interviewer interrupts him and again tries to get him to talk about what the president was like.
    Please try to get more substance out of the interviews, and less fluff.

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Well, it's still an improvement over the rancor of the past eight years. Which probably explains why the bipartisanship is still not there. But maybe some small steps at a time we will get there. We just need to be patient.

    February 15, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. amf

    Thank you Rep Schock for listening to your constituents. This seems to be one thing that many a representative seems to forget. They work for the people. Thank you again for not forgetting this.

    February 15, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Ronnie

    How can anyone still believe in the republician party?They are a disgrace to the nation and should be jailed for treason.Americans overwhelming ly elected Obama to be president and these morons are standing in the way of progress.

    February 15, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. GOP = Geriatric Obstructionist Pityparty

    Sorry, President Obama, Aaron was just like the rest of the House repubs as dictated by Boehner, he told them to vote no before they had heard it.

    He may be young but no change, 'sides Rush might jump him.

    February 15, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Denise

    he's got the Republican rhetoric memorized... good boy.

    February 15, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. Norman

    Only three Republicans supported the Stimulas Bill. What a statement by the GOP.

    Is there any wonder why we have the problems today. I always thought that our leaders get elected to do a job. I am really disappointed at this very sad piece of American Political History. Only three!!!!

    Thank G-D Obama was elected.

    February 15, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. tigerakabj

    I guess your constituents have enough green jobs, low health care, and nice schools. And I think your constituents would have a tough time accepting tax breaks to those make $150,000 or less.

    Sorry Mr. Schock. Your ideas lost big time in the last election. Trickle-down doesn't work so you better come up with new ideas that help average folk. You're young so maybe you won't be like these old codgers 3 times your age and dig in your heels with old and discredited ideas.

    February 15, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Kyle

    Just another Republican for the DCCC to knock off in 2 years. If the GOP keeps it up they won't have many members of Congress left.

    February 15, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Dale

    Typical thinking for a republican. Those guys had controll of the purse strings for 14 of the last 16 years and look at the mess they got us into!

    What makes them smart all of a sudden? Why don't they start thinking about the people instead of their business cronies.

    Every one of them needs to be voted out of office at the next election! Starting with Insane McCain!

    February 15, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Got to hand it to them.

    As a party, they have failed at everything they've touched for the past 8 years, or as they would put it, have had 'catastrophic success.'

    Yet as the drum beat goes unchanged in a perfect vacuum devoid of any new thought, they do have solidarity.

    March on soldiers; one or two more elections and your party will be irrelevant enough to make way for a new second party.

    February 15, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. George B.

    Translated ... I must be in lock step with the rest of my vindictive colleagues.

    February 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. MRT

    As a freshman, do you think for one minute he would have voted against the republican party no matter what the plan had... give me a break.....as it has been stated over and over again the republicans are out to bring Obama down...

    February 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Rob Stumpf

    Goofy liberal opinion of the day:

    "If you don't like the stimulus package, we're not giving you the money!"

    Great idea! And when the BILL comes due to actually pay for all of this insane spending, can we opt out of THAT, too? Can we tell the government, "I didn't support the stimulus, didn't get any benefit from it, so you're not allowed to raise my taxes to pay for it."? I doubt it.

    Liberals love the right to dissent when they are not in control of policy decisions. When it's THEIR program on the line, everybody better shut up and go along!

    February 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Karol

    Does ANYONE care what the Republicans think? They are in large part responsible for the mess we're in now. Mr. I'm-27-years-old-and-don't-anything-Schock: Sit down and shut up. Quit trying to make a name for yourself and start working with the Democrats instead of against them.

    February 15, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Rovo

    This is exactly how you will end up as a one term congressman!

    February 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Vera

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. Chris F

    Ultimately, I listened to John Bohnert and Eric Cantor, and they're helping me not to get reelected. I really don't want to be a Congressman for that long.

    February 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. Gordon Shumway

    Even the freshman congressman can recognize redistribution of wealth versus actual stimulus and job creation. Too bad the "big boys" couldn't

    February 15, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Gordon Shumway

    Even the freshman congressman can recognize redistribution of wealth versus actual stimulus and job creation. Too bad the "big boys" couldn't.

    February 15, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Sue

    Schock is trying to make an impression. He has.

    Unfortunately, it wasn't the impression he hoped to make.

    Ah well...he's young....he may have been "hot" but so were they all - once. He'll cool down fast once his constituents realize his lack of political savvy. (And his reluctance to develop some.)

    Too bad...if he'd worked on that "political savvy" he may have retained his "heat."

    February 15, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Dale

    Good on the Senator, continue to stick to your morals, standards and, ideals and don't let anybody change them

    February 15, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. Bobo

    Jerk! What a jerk this fellow is. I hope he loses his bid for re-election when the people in his district only keep their jobs cause of the bill he did not vote for. Idiot!

    February 15, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Sal Monella

    “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.”

    So he basically admits that he didn't vote for it because the GOP didn't write it. What a neocon-poop.

    February 15, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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