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. pep

    this youngster has a lot to learn....the tax cuts his colleagues proposed? Well they will DECREASE the top taxpayers burden to 25% DOWN from 28%. Talk about generational theft.

    February 15, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Does anyone, other than "die-hard I would never vote for a Democrat, even if my life depended on it" Republicans, really believe any of the Republicans and their accusations that Obama hasn't TRIED to be b-partisan? He allowed them to water down the stimulus bill to the point that maybe it won't work now and then they not only do not vote for it but criticize it in every way imaginable.

    February 15, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. joseph liang

    Coward!

    February 15, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. ramiro h chavez

    Mr. Schok did not listen to his constituents, he listened to the GOP, and he will be in trouble in 2010

    February 15, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. AZ Senior

    Did he listen to his constituents, or his party elders? If the Republicans think the President is off to a bad start, he must be doing fabulous by the standards the rest of us measure him with.

    February 15, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. JES

    If I hear one more Republican congressman say that the bill was bipartisan I'm going to scream. Bipartisanship doesn' mean that Democrats or the president give up everything they want to accomplish it means they make some concessions for good ideas. That clearly happened. Billions of dollars in spending was removed from the bill, and tax cuts were added.

    Unelect Schock.

    February 15, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Velmeezee

    Poor Mr. Schock, getting bullied into voting against helping America for the sake of his "constituents". WTF, really!

    February 15, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. jill

    It's pretty sad how Obama had to put pressure on someone to vote for his bill and he didn't. What does that tell people? Evidently the bill isn't good for anyone? Especially since the Republicans didn't vote for it. Nice job Dems, keep up the um, good work? Congrats Aaron. Finally, someone is actually look out for the American people. I especially like how Obama called out Aaron, tried to bribe him and still didn't get his vote. Are you feeling the love now Obama?

    February 15, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. judy

    Republicans, as always,..........party first...........country last!

    February 15, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Tchalla

    I wonder what constituency Schock is referring to – the Republican Party; Rush Limbaugh; or Michael Steel? The people of Peoria are worrying about their jobs, as if their last meal is coming up real soon. Caterpillar, the major contributor to Peoria’s economy, is taking a bad hit in the wallet which is causing massive layoffs. The constituency Schock is not listening to is hoping the Stimulus package will create jobs, fueled by the rebuilding American’s infrastructure, which means, an increase in sales for Caterpillar equipment. Republicans like Schock are taking orders from his party’s Generals in stead of listing to the people that elected them. Instead of saying no to a Democratic lead bill, unlike a similar Republican lead TARP bill, I would like to see the Republican and Conservatives extend a hand and finally work with their Congressional counterparts in place of all this crying. All I see is one party hoping the other will fail, so it can regain or retain its power, and the people are the ones who's losing every year. The only division I see is our elected officials creating a divide between the people and making us choose sides. We need to throw the bums out.

    February 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. James

    What a tool. The Republicans seem to have forgotten who won the election, and they have a weird idea that bipartisanship means continuing the policies that they followed to get us into this mess. They are desperate to see Obama fail, no matter what the cost to the country. Party first, country last, that's the GOP.

    February 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Noel

    Funny guy this Obama da "American Pimp" using Air Force One as his personal pimp mobile. Maybe he should throw in some crack, I heard that he is familiar with it. What a shame, couldn't sway a freshman member of congress to join his little entourage, what a joke, using Air Force One as a " Pimp Mobile" telling everyone one us to conserve while he flies around the country touting his stimulus bill. Stop being slaves to the social programs of the democratic system, rise above and better yourselves, they are your pimps and you are the end business of it. Why do you think that we have so many illegals taking advantage of our programs, they are conditioned on our government just as you are, wake up and stop drinking the kool-aid. A former migrant field worker who now earns over 76k

    February 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. james s roberts

    glad to read Congressional leaders, members are examining the stimulus package and learning it's costs exceeds the benefits.

    The longer the stimulus package takes to be approved, if ever, the better. It's this generation; slient, baby boomers who caused it and they need to handle it, manage it, solve it without passing the "buck"; literally and figuratively to their children.

    February 15, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. John Doe

    Just stopped by to say the CNN really sucks! John King is a royal ass and as soon as he gets his nose out of John McCain's butthole he should be fired. Gotta go, enjoy your demise CNN, the days of lying are over.

    February 15, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. obambi

    Good for him–Obama tried to shame him into doing the wrong thing and he did not cave–typical Chicago thug technique!

    February 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. amv

    Thank You for listening to your constituents. They did hire you and it is up to you to represent them. And you did . Thanks bunches.

    February 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. Christopher

    For eight years, republicans did not vote against or challenge any of Bush's spending bills. Now that Obama is in office, they want to start being conservative. It's more of the same game that Republicans play time and time again. Republicans want more tax cuts. Look what tax cuts have done for us these last eight years. Tax cuts during a war! Who does that? You want to spend money, but you have no revenue coming in without the taxes. What school of economics did you all attend?

    February 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. brandon smith

    Good for you!! you did the right thing, If President Obama wanted to redeem himself, he would veto this spending bill with all the pork and send it back to the house to put together a stimulus bill. He has lost all credibility with this bill .

    February 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Patty

    Hope you have fun running on the plane. Just remember the taxpayers pays for that plane. Mr Prez, I will think of you tomorrow when I am signing the lease on my apartment, due to the fact my house is being foreclosed on. I regret the day that I voted for you!!!!

    February 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Todd

    Except that parts of the bill were changed when republicans objected to it. So actually they did have input into how the bill was organized. But then they voted against it anyway so why bother giving them any say at all if they're just trying to sabotage everything by being obstructionists?

    February 15, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  21. Dave

    Looks like he'll be one-term and out when the economy bounces back and he didn't support the stimulus plan. Maybe the district will see the light and put a democrat who wants to get things done into the seat he vacates.

    February 15, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  22. chuck moylan

    Now, this young man is one that shows some common sense and potential. This Obama clown needs to be stopped and stopped right now. Obama is nothing but damn communist.

    February 15, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. Dina Levine

    Good job for using your head. That is very disturbing that Obama would take him on Air Force One and try to strong arm him into voting the way that Obama wanted. Obama is a scary individual, I like to think on my own. Not have someone telling me what I should think and who I should listen to and take over my entire life.

    Thank God we have some people that are not merely followers in this country but actually use their brains.

    February 15, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  24. Joel (New York)

    “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.” Sorry? Did I read that correctly Congressman? Where do you want the money to go to? And isn't the entity that we are trying to stimulate the economy? Sigh.

    February 15, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. CCT

    You rock, Aaron!!! Love you.

    February 15, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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