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. an84u

    I predict the name of Aaron Schnock will not play in Peoria in 2010...in voting NO on President Obama's economic recovery package, little Aaron has set himself and his office against the enlightened self-interests of the citizens of his district, and in turn obviously finds himself up "Schnock" creek w/o a paddle....poor guy! Maybe Aaron can shoot himself in the other foot tomorrow!

    February 15, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Ernie in LA

    Great. Thank you sir for standing up for what you believe. You will be proud of that choice in the future.

    February 15, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. S.M.R.

    Look young and dumb: Your party LIED about WMD in order to invade Iraq for their personal gain and in return we lose over 4000 of our military, over 100,000 innocent Iracies, and more than 2 trillion dollars of the American tax payers money. President Bush sighed a bailout package for wallstreet without regulations, Voted down the big 3 bailout because it had regulations put in by congress, and 1 week later past his own with no regulations. Do you think we are stupid or something? Take a hike PUNK!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. nell

    After the Republicans having 8 years to write a stimulus bill but letting the economy tank, instead, why should their input be of any value? It would be insane to give credence to their version of a bill, particularly when they brought us to this terrifying brink of depression and they now refuse to acknowledge its impact on ordinary citizens. Schock should get voted out when he comes up for reelection. I will contribute to his opponent.

    February 15, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Donna

    15 mins of fame...I'm sure Obama had more important (and well known) Republicans to smooze than this one...either way, the bill passed...deal with it...

    February 15, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. marty, rio de janeiro brasil

    Yes.

    February 15, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Bob from Kentucky

    Schock should not use words like "compromise" if he and his Republican collegues are unfamiliar with the meaning of the term.

    February 15, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Shannon

    Oh COME ON. The Republicans don't think this bill was bipartisan enough?? They already met with the Dems and cut out a bunch of important stuff like allocations for women's health, and then they STILL refuse to vote on it and pretend like they didn't get their way with anything during the deliberations??? [Let me also add that all the members of Congress who met to take out the provisions for stuff like women's health were all male - how selfish and repugnant is that?]

    Stop whining, Republicans. The Democratic party is already a watered-down version of your party and tries to be "moderate" all the time to appeal to your ridiculous demands. The people who should be complaining are the people like me and my wife who get screwed over by the Dems because they're the only remotely "liberal" representation, and they vote against our equal rights in order to pacify the offensive Republicans who still cry that they're not being catered to enough. This is all pathetic.

    February 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. FixAmerica

    It looks like you will be losing soon, dude!

    February 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. digger

    Good for Mr. Schock. He made the right decision.

    February 15, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Cal

    So this guy says that over 1,000 people don't want this federal bailout who are Cat. employees and 0 people are for it? This guy has a credibility issue. There's no way thats even close to an accurate depiction of the views of Catepillar employee's.

    February 15, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. d

    Hmm... a delusional, complete, ultra right-winger says no to Obama and CNN posts it. This is not suprising considering John King's awful reporting and bias. It seems his goal is to get as many negative Obama stories as possible, and he will NEVER EVER challenge the republicans. Never. Won't happen. He's a typical media hack. Everything the GOP says must be gold, but everything Obama says, well... "we should hold them accountable."

    Please cut this garbage, Mr. King. You're an absolute disgrace. ANd you're right-wing hackery is completely apparent to anyone who's paying any attention.

    February 15, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. Jaybee

    The young man's ignorance and immaturity is showing...

    February 15, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. FreeNLovIt

    First, he doesnt even know that under W's leadership, W left us 5 trillion dollars, so why would he even know or understand Peoria needs help?

    February 15, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Lilly Rose

    So you're saying that your constituents aren't having money, housing or job problems. Well good for them. I also suggest that you refuse to take any of the bailout money for Peoria too. In fact, since things are so good in Peoria, I think we should all move there and we can be better off too. President tried to work with you people, but you're always the same – the conservative way or the highway. Also, since your are an Illinois rep and our state does have problems, who the heck to you represent anyway?

    February 15, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Fran

    The young man is a true Republican politician. Bringing the stimulus package down lower to accomodate the Republicans, they still voted against it. Perhaps the young man saw that the 2 Republicans who backed Obama are being ostracised by their own party – for voting their consciences. He was merely being a "good little boy" Republican, voting in a most PARTISAN way. (It's kind of funny how the die-hard partisan Republicans are calling Obama partisan! tooooo funny!)

    February 15, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Matthew, Detroit

    Another man of integrity who would not buckle to the bully we call Barack.

    I give Barack credit for trying. He even played the game in public and tried to embarrass the kid. The kid stood by his values.

    February 15, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I feel like I am the only one in the world besides this guy who realizes that Obama is a snide hypocrite. Anyone read the Air Force One article? So much for saving the planet, Obama SUPERSTAR.

    February 15, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Luke Brown

    Barack, stop grovelling and act like a President.

    Politics is a tough business. You are wasting your political honeymoon on people who are determined to get you and your party out of office.

    February 15, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. Libertarian

    Don't ya love how the Republicans are calling this the most bi-partisan President ever? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obama invited them to talk – and they refused. Obama visited them at their offices – and they turned their backs. Now McCain has the NERVE to call him bi-partisan? After the filthy lies McCain spread during his campaign???!! Are they serious?

    February 15, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  21. Ms.L

    President Obama need to stop dealing with these people. They will do whatever to try and make him look bad, but they don't see that it make them look bad. I have never seen people want to see a man fail so bad that they would go to any length. It does not matter to them if the people fail just long as they try and make him look bad. Well GOP stop it is not working, but it does shed another light on you all and it does make your party look like trouble makers. President Obama is really trying to cross party lines and make everyone come together, but you all are fighting him on every hand. This country is in too bad of shape to keep fighting we need to come together and help one another move forward. My hats off to President Obama for trying to make you all look better, because Bush did not do a good job for your party.

    February 15, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. al/Alabama

    Another rubber stamp GOPer

    February 15, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  23. Don

    Dear Republican Party...
    You have done everything in your power to bully America into following your conservative policies over the past 30 years... now that your entire ideology has been proven extremely flawed, you need to take a step back and let America try something different. Your bull headed self righteous braying is completely destroying what's left of your party and prohibiting this nation from greatness. Get out of the way of progress!
    The Republicans are going down in flames.
    It's pathetic... truly.

    February 15, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. William Wirt

    He's a do nothing Republican they're all self serving.

    February 15, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. ginger

    "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.”

    So I guess non of your constituents have lost a job, their house, healthcare benefits, job hours cut back or been affected by the recession? Well, its good to know that your "constiuents" are doing very well.

    Next lie, please.

    February 15, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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