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. person

    turned down the prez's plea because POTUS is black and democratic.

    February 15, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. lorne

    this guy is sharp. smiles and knives go together and are more effective then stones or lies.

    February 15, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Carmela, Longwood, Florida

    It is obvious that Congressman Schcock learnt his Republican lesson very fast; he probably thought: "Right or wrong, I will stick with the brethren no matter what, because we have to make the Dem. President pay for daring take away our power." I guess President Obama was wrong, and this guy is not as smart as the President trought.

    February 15, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Don

    This guys is a loser seeking attention and is being coached by dumb stupid republicans without brains to overlook the importance of what's best for America.

    Typical untalented, forgotten loser!

    February 15, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. Mike

    Just another out of touch Republican!!

    Obama, I hope you learned your lesson. Let this whip go down with the rest of the Republicans. However, because you gave him some publicity, he will be re-elected.

    February 15, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Ben Joerg

    Your consultants ???- Use your own head buddy – Good luck on re-election

    February 15, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Ed

    Yea the ride on AF-One may have been a bit showy and over the top - but does this freshman Congressman really believe what he is saying or is he mouthing the Republican line? While the stimulus package may not be great, it is a start - given that this is the worse economic crisis since most of us were born, do we really know?

    February 15, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Joel

    These guys are a piece of work. They brought us to the edge of the worst economic disaster in modern history. They were trumped in the election. And now they say that Obama is following the wrong economic course. That's Chutspah!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Drew

    This representative actually voted with his constituents in mind? Why isn't there more of this in our supposed "republic?"

    February 15, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. SNAPPA

    "Obama is off to a bad start" ya know what if the Republicans were as concerned about the country as much as they are on gaining power this mess could be fixed. I haven't heard ONE idea from Republicans except TAX CUT, TAX CUTS well didn't we do that in '03 and in the stimulus there are 42% of tax cuts a lot of good bush's tax cuts did. I truly believe that the Republicans are now the obstructionists party and the grand ol whining party and need to die off and go away.

    February 15, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Gabriel

    Aaron Schock – you've had your 15mins of fame – your immaturity and novice was evident today on your interview. As a freshmen remember you need to survive and get reelected......'not one of the CAT employees asked you to support the package.....REALLY.....remember Rush will drop you like a hot potato when convenient.......sad display of politics.....CNN is looking more like FOX everyday.......

    February 15, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. lady in the know

    Give this guy a cigar. He is young, but he's learning in a hurry. He's got the Democrats' number and he is so right when he says bipartisanship isn't one party telling the other what to do. No matter the party in power. One only hopes he will stay this honest and tell it like it is. He was right about Obama being one thing in public and another behind closed doors. Just glad he didn't bow to the pressure and play the game.

    February 15, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. Rick

    tell me you didnt know Obama was a game player and regular lieing DEMONCRATE. I saw this in him from day one. He lies about change and is a normal taxing DEM, watch and see, his administtration will try to tax us now.

    February 15, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. OBAMA2012

    he is a republican...what do you expect?? ? not a shocker CNN...NEXT!!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Jed

    Balanced reporting, CNN. Enough with the endless bashing of Obama.

    Of course Republicans are going to say whatever they can to make him look bad. That's politics. It's not news.

    February 15, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. Truth

    Well buddy I hope you enjoyed your freshman run, because we will now make sure it is your only one. See you in '10!

    February 15, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. AUC

    PUNK!

    February 15, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. elizabeth s

    Bravo to Aaron Schock for sticking to his beliefs and supporting what is best for Americans. I hope I see more leaders like him taking a stand.

    February 15, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. HouseDiva

    and another thing.....

    On September 10 2001 Donald Rumsfeld announced that 2.3 TRILLION not billion...TRILLION!! was missing from the pentagon books....they had our attention till the next day. Those trillions have not been recovered as of this day.... where did the money go????

    WHY AREN'T YOU REPUBLICANS angry and outraged about that??? yet your angry about a stimulus bill designed to create jobs....what are you guys smoking????seriously????

    even if those billions for the stimulus go up in smoke for nothing...it still doesn't compare to trillions STOLEN with the money going god knows where.

    February 15, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Vic

    By being hateful and disrespectful to a Democratic President and his party is the very reason the Republicans find themselves on the negative side and falling. Surely Mr. Schock has enough sense to know this even if he has no manners. Bet this is the last time he'll be asked to board the President's plane!

    February 15, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. paul

    Kudos to a freshman senator to stand up and say HE CAN'T VOTE for a bill that he does not truly believe in! And please, do not say he was going with party lines. Democrats are all on this bill because they want ot show unity but the American public are not ALL on board with it so can someone tell me who group is off with what we want?

    It seems that something that was in DESPERATE need to be voted upon without giving anyone ample time to read through the entire bill (very BUSH-esque) ONLY to have President Obama go on a vacation a few weeks into the job! All I have to say is he is the leader of the most powerful country in the world so he should be working 7 days a week. Democrats, and I am one of them, chided Bush for his many holidays so why is Obama now following suit?! Plus, he is more in the media than he seems to be in his office working. For example, judging his basketball skills today on CNN!

    February 15, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Judy

    He's cute, but he's a republican robot who went along with the group think. I heard him say that no one in Peroria came to him after the meeting to ask him to support the bill. I just don't believe that. The crowd at Caterpillar cheered for the plan. They are being laid-off as we speak and they don't want extended unemployment benefits. Sorry, I just don't believe that.

    February 15, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. Britton

    Schock is a young jerk brainwashed by Rush and the other sorry 'so-called" conservatives.

    February 15, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Steve in Louisville

    Schook is no better than any of the rest of the Republican members of Congress - other than the three Senators who did the right thing. He should be defeated at the polls in 2010.

    It should be remembered that in America's time of need, Schook chose party loyalty above all else.

    February 15, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. william

    So tried of the republicans crying over nothing. They are just so behind the times. Their all angery over losing the elections the past 2 times .

    Get over it and work with the new congress and presidant. Divided we fail.

    You republicans got us here and among some others. You knew for ages there was a big problem brewing in the banking and housing loans. But did nothing to correct it before this mess we are in now. Now it is up to a new President to fix what you all broke.

    February 15, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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