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. Sue

    That's right, Congressman, because the Republicans STILL think tax cuts are a stimulus, so when those were added and real job projects removed, you no longer have a total stimulus package. Blame your Republican ideals, not Obama.

    February 15, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Gary

    Congrats Rep Schock on looking out for the best interest of the country. This stimulus is an expensive bill that will not help the economy and will saddle our children with extreme debt. As a freshman congressman, I think that you are off to a great start. I would encourage you to work honestly with the Democrats to help rebuild a strong economy but that doesn't mean you give in to a bad idea in this bad bill. We need to stablize the banks but not hand out money, and we need to cut spending and reduce the deficit. The recession will be tough but in the long-term we'll be healthier if we can break our addiction to debt. Thank you for your efforts.

    February 15, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Chris

    I use to live in Peoria, and now live in Chicago. I wish Rep. Schock was my rep. Its a shame this "stimulus" bill was passed.

    February 15, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Sam Jones

    How is it that a bill with 1/3 of it's total amount devoted to tax cuts ($200+ billion) isn't something a republican can back? Oh – because the tax cuts are going to people who don't deserve it (ie: poor / middle class).

    Seriously – if the GoP philosophy isn't to support the lowest economic ladder of people in society as a hard and fast rule, they should just say so instead of lying about "this bill being all about spending".

    February 15, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Steph I.

    No of course the Republicans are not going to vote for this bill; their best interest were not in mind; CEO's Banks and large corporations.
    We need infrastructure work; over the last 8 years our roads bridges Dams and river banks have gone all but shot to hell because of a "war" we didn't need to be in.
    Now the country after being greedy and materialistic wasn't the banks to refinance their mortgages, help with their credit cards etc and look who is the target to blame? Obama and his administration.
    How can you sit around and want to collect unemployment and yet not want a job? I am self-employed and it is harder for me to make ends meet than a family of 4 but I am not a spend spend spend democrat nor and I a fan of big government, yet somewhere the sour pusses of the country need to ask.. what is it that is really more important? helping the economy by giving me a job? or a tax break no I don't want a stimulus check because as soon as I get it it is gone I never got the first one that #43 had us get.. ( which by the way doesn't help the self employed) or having the $$ go to the banks who are still jilting people as I write this.
    a Jr. congressman has a lot to learn and well while he doesn't have to worry about where he will sleep or get his next meal ( no thanks to the people that put him in office they DO have to worry about where their $$ will be spent.)
    I wonder.. 2000-2008 didn't tach the greedy and the blind nothing.
    If the regular average American that has to get up and go to work or go to the unemployment line everyday really had their chance to say what we need.. it Jobs not hand outs.. Last time I looked This was the United States of America.. not the American Welfare Office
    Come on America something needs to be done.

    February 15, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. sheila

    senator you're an idiot,you have shown that you are not capable of being your own man.Playing follow the leader does not show good leadership qualities!

    February 15, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Davis Miller

    Should this be a surprise: a baby Republican with a baby's sense of that which will stimulate the economy. Do all GOPers have to be small-smart? Is it genetically engineered? I find President Obama extraordinarily uncommon for a politician in that he thinks in large, fully smart, future-leaning ways.

    February 15, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. The Rector

    sucking up to opponents and playing the old "do the right thing" card. Well once again the inexperiance and over confidence show themselves. This guy shot his wad on the campain trail, and is now coasting on fumes, he's going to have to do a lot better than this pork filled trillion dollar band-aid. I mean this is exactly what the repubs did in April, Nov, and Dec, against the will of a majority of voters. Thats why obama won in the first place, and turning around the world wide economic melt down will take a long long time. Adding this sort of massive government waste and graft will only prevent an actual recovery by revisiting this spending on our grandchildren, if this republic still exists by that time. They say that those who dont remember the past repeat it mistakes, well the new deal destroyed free will and individual responsibility in this country, and this crap will ensure a new generation of tax-slaves working themselves to death for the state all to save the emense fortunes of a handfull of tycoons who have never paid their fair share in this land of the free.

    February 15, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Don

    Good for you Aaron. We need more like you running the show.

    February 15, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. kathy50

    I think this is absolutely ridiculous! Are all Republicans brain dead??? When history shows just how great Obama really is – I hope people will remember these Republicans, and remember how they deliberately blocked progress for our entire country. Better yet. We need to vote some more Republicans out of office!

    February 15, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Jill Green

    Yes! the congressboy sticks to his principles and was not strong armed by Obama's "praise".
    Maybe we'll be OK

    February 15, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Vi

    I appreciate Schock has his own judgment. I would also like to know how many congressman who had read the whole bill page by page. Bipartisanship is a two way street. I have not heard of the Republican has counter proposal and take the initiative. They just sit there, attack & make negative comment without giving any constructive recommendations.

    February 15, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. YVONNE-KENTUCKY

    HERE WE GO AGAIN ANOTHER WHINING REDUB WHAT A BUNCH OF BUT WIPES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. OldDad

    Solutions can't be bipartisan, when one party stubbornly insists on the same old policies that caused the problems in the first place. The idea is to have bipartisan solutions, NOT bipartisan continuations of the problems.

    Money given directed directly or indirectly to the consumers does NOT create jobs. It only maintains a few retail jobs for a short time, at the most. Records show that the public is now on a savings spree, NOT a spending spree. What jobs will that create? It was public free spending, as incouraged by the finance institutions, that created our false economy, which ultimatety collapsed.

    Why continue to encourge people to buy more long-term houses and cars that they can't afford to pay for nor keep up with jobs? Why continue to pump money into broken institutions with the same crooks running them?

    Why not create jobs, jobs and more jobs so as to supply more people with a continuous income to support those long-term purchases; and also, replace those over-paid thieves at the banks, etc.?

    February 15, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. Dan

    Take heed Republicans! Either be part of the solution or part of the problem. President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress reached across the aisle, but you refused to reach back simply because it was a "Democratic" bill. President Obama compromised, yet nothing can make the majority of Republicans happy unless it is only their way or none at all. Well, the country is not going back to the way it was under Bush even though you all want it to be. Grow up and work with our President and make this country a better place to live. President Obama is doing his part, how about doing yours?

    February 15, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  16. lisa

    A very ill advised young man-and a wimp

    February 15, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Marie

    This guy doesn't listen to his constituents. He's a Republican robot just like all other Republicans. He doesn't think for himself or for the people he represents. For God's sake, 20,000 people are being laid off from Caterpillar and he's listening to his constituents in voting against this stimulus? He's a dog in training doing what his Republican masters tell him to do. When oh when will we get Republicans who really do care about their constituents. They love kicking us when we are down. That's what they are all about. Party above all others and stick it to the working stiff.

    February 15, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Michiganian

    Let me understand...there are 435 Representatives, and 100 Senators> How in heck were Democrats supposed to "meet" with Republicans and work out details? Aren't bills done by committee, and then the larger body sees them and argues parts? Isn't that common practice? I'm a little tired of the spin going on here, when news reports indicated that Obama reached out more than anyone in recent history to get Republican ideas into the bill, many at the expense of his own job creating ones.
    I believe that all Repubs are terrified of this bill working, are were afraid to sign on so that IF it fails, they can go into "told you so" mode for the mid-terms. Politics is no way to run a country!

    February 15, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I feel sorry for this junior congressman. He'll learn that listening to Rush Limbaugh and the senior republicans who got us into this mess will not do him any good in Congress.

    February 15, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. Trish A

    The Republicans need to get on board the Obama train or Get Off and turn off their voice recorder! Quite frankly I'm tired of hearing their incessant dirge. They certainly have no track record to base their mythical assumptions on! Do something or hush up!

    February 15, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. gloria louisiana

    sayin no.this 27yr old is naive, he would rather listen to his older constituents who are clearly still sore from the november elections. This would come back to bite him. He isnt different from his 60yr old republican coworkers....he would look back at this and tell himself that he shouldve stood up to his republican seniors. but instead wanted to gain acceptance within his group. what he doesnt know is that all we people care about is that things get done instead of easily

    February 15, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Nice to see a repub with a spine. Hopefully he's not doing it just to be contrary.

    February 15, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Ralph

    "It is time for Congress to act, and I hope they act in a bipartisan fashion," President Obama said.

    Unfortunately, Obama’s definition of bipartisanship is for the Republicans to agree 100% with him.

    God bless Mister Schock.

    February 15, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. True Conservative

    Question....Is Obama signing the bill in Denver because that's where they're going to print the money?

    February 15, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. The Rector

    sorry cnn, last post must have been too critical of your guy. Sufice to say only the buisness, bank, and political groups want this bill, everyone I talk to thinks its wastfull and irresponsible. There's no there there, you know? it's full of big ticket items that will create new projects for existing large entities, and tax cuts where they won't help. If government is going to get involved at this late date, then its pretty obvious that the horse is already out of the barn, and it's a little late to close the door. And no this did not happen in eight years, or the eight years before that, it's a long time comming, and it will be a long time going away. obama or no obama wont really matter much in the long run.

    February 15, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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