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. Mikecoatl

    Typical Republican. He is more concerned with the GOP line than he was with his constituents. Hopefully he'll be voted out in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  2. Bob from Portland

    Hey, good for him for having a backbone. It's not easy to say no in any situation, let alone when the President is asking you.

    February 15, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. Nadine

    Remember to tell the unemployed people at Catapeller and the people of Peoria that you voted against it so they know who to ask for money from when their unemployment runs out. I love how you can ride on Air Force One but turn around and bad mouth the Stimulus Package and this President's ideas on getting money back into the hands of Americans. Your only 27, don't let the GOP take you down with them.

    February 15, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Jeanine

    The President was obligated to try to change minds, and did so kindly, and the Congressman was obligated to vote his conscience, so they both did what they were supposed to do and both did so kindly and honorably. Nothing else.

    Good for both of them!

    February 15, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Dumas McGee

    hey CNN any reason you're not reporting that Obama rushed the stimulus vote only to wait 3 days to sign it?

    February 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Dee Dee Lynn

    Hello, is it newsworthy that Republicans are being obstructionist? I think not. They are much better at being against things than coming up with solutions.

    I am waiting to see what they have to say when the economy turns around in a year or so. Will they then say it would have happened anyway (which will be contrary to what they said when Bush was pusing for TARP) or will they concede that they voted against the measures that brought about recovery?

    February 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  7. steve alpern

    Hey Aaron,

    Blew your chance. No guts, no glory :)

    February 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. David L Jacobson

    Mr Schock"s idea of bipartisan compromise seems simply to forget te results of the election and folow the Bush policies that got into this mess. Evev the US Chamber of Commrce recognized that this was a necessary compromise Mr Shock really voted against the stumulus because his oarty leadership gave him no choice. Republicans (and democrats) once followed their conscience but since thhe days of Gingribch the GOP members of the House have been in a partisan lockstep in which no dissen has been tolerated! Bipartisan does not meet surrender ti the old policy which led us into the worst mess and
    the deepest debt - in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy - in our history.
    Thank heaven we avoided Republican compromises on Social Security - but Mr Shock may stick with his party on that issue as well.

    February 15, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Ron

    What a dirtbag. He can't even make up his own mind. In his own words he let others decide for him. He did not do what was best for the Americans out of work but for his "constituents" (AKA rich people). I repeat...DIRTBAG

    February 15, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. I can see Canada from my house!

    I have news for Kid Congressman: Politics rarely involoves bipartianship. His party offered nothing other than the same tired garbage about tax cuts curing everything from an economic meltdown to the common cold and also improving your virility. Instead, they demanded the new majority roll over and do nothing other than bail out those with five homes or more and tell the others to fend for themselves. This bill is far from perfect, but the Republican solution was behave like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. He needs to look beyond the phone calls from those who don't work and listen to talk radio, and remember what he saw and learned during his campaign. I just hope the Republican Freshman orientation process does not include a lobotomy.

    February 15, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. Ken K.

    Mr. Schock and the rest of the republicans need to wake up. The country wants change and will have it. By going against this will only guarantee that many more republicans will be voted out in the next election. This mess happened because of republican policies on deregulation, tax breaks for the wealthy, and greed is good. Democracy was invented to spread the wealth since the natural path of wealth is to always end up int he hands of a few. We need to take care of our country now... we need high speed trains, we need better schools and equipment, we need access for everyone to attend college without going into debt, we need a national health care system, and we need to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for everything. Wake up America!

    February 15, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. G

    “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.”

    That quote sounds odd are you sure he said this? Is it just me or is he saying the money is going towards stimulating the economy ??? Either way too bad he voted against the bill I understand his supporters might have been against the bill. But isn't that what leadership is all about? Making tough decisions when others don't want to? Just because they were against it doesn't mean its not a good bill. Looks like another republican fell towards party pressure, who knows maybe this guy was actually for the bill but did not want to stand up and defend it because of people like Limbaugh.

    February 15, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  13. Robert the Man

    I bet all the libs will say He's a racist. Lets count how many " he's a racist!" posts get on here

    February 15, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. Schock Sucks

    Schock, you are in dire need of a reality check.

    Look at the content of the bill rather than whether it was "bipartisan". how many bills were passed a few years ago when the repubs dominanted congress that were "truly bipartisan"?

    You may have been elected by the people of Peoria, but youre a complete letdown. Here's a tip: divorce yourself from your party affiliations, look at the bill, and THEN decide if you think it will serve the people.

    At the end of the day, the American people dont care whether a bill was bipartisan...they care as to whether it will help them with their day-to-day struggles. Its a good thing you have good-looks, cuz sadly, thats all you have going for yourself...nothing more.

    February 15, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Ren from Baltimore

    Sir, your constituents were those in the audience with President Obama, were they not? The ones out of work, out of money, nearly out of hope?

    How could you let these people down, just to help McCain give Obama a lousy start? The Republicans got us in this potentially fatal freefall--now you just want to watch your "constituents"-your friends and neighbors-fall apart for the sake of the GOP??

    Sick.

    February 15, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. T.Greene

    Who the is this guy...to tell you the truth never even heard of him. It reall doesnt even matter what he thinks.I cant understand why everyone is giving the president a hard time, if we would have been watching every step and decision our last president did I dont think we would be so deep in the muddy waters. I think that we need to give him a chance...hes bound to do better than the last eight years, and Mccain just needs to relax...there is a reason he wasnt elected.

    February 15, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Richard Butler

    I am getting fed up with hearing Republicans cry about spending in the stimulus bill. These people belong to a party who has historically run on record budget deficits for years. Are they talking about bipartisanship because they aren't the ones proposing this spending?

    February 15, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. zuqwr

    This is lame. These Rethuglicans are all brainwashed. They need to get with their program or their current term will be their last term.

    February 15, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Virginia

    The Republicans were the ones pushing for all the stupid tax cuts instead of spending the money to hire folks. They wound up with almost 40% of the bill being tax cuts just to try to be bipartison!
    We know the tax cuts only help the folks protected in their jobs. If you are not working, you don't get a tax cut!!!
    We went down hill when Reagan gave too many tax cuts, fortunately Clinton helped pull us back from the brink. And we've lost even more with Bush's tax cuts! They only went to the very rich, who got even more very rich while the rest of us fought and lost.
    The Republicans won't be happy until all branches of gov't are republican again so we can have another recession (or depression next time) and give their lobiest and rich friends some more.
    Tell your republican representatives to get with the program or retire.

    February 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. Jason in Atlanta, Georgia

    I heard from another congressman that the bill itself was 1,100 pages and they received it the morning of the day they were to vote on it. I think we're in big trouble.

    February 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. IndependentfromTexas.

    he will be a one-term congressman. People will punish him by voting against him in Peoria. We don't want useless low-govt representatives when they take healthcare and pension from taxpayers money and then act big. Hope voters will show them the door next election.

    February 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Schock said he "listened to his constituents."

    Maybe one or two.

    This guy has no future; he is a liar.

    February 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. AjBezark

    What good news! Rep. Schock says the stimulus package is not in his constituents' interest. So I guess we can assume that Peoria, IL is doing great, and hasn't been hit by the economic downturn at all. And therefore, Mr. Schock will inform the government that his district doesn't need or want ANY of the stimulus funds that were in the package.

    In fact, let's apply this to EVERY voted against the stimulus. If you didn't vote for it, your state doesn't get a dime. That leaves more for the rest of us who live in districts where our representatives voted FOR an economic recovery rather than against it. Thanks, Aaron!

    February 15, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Jon

    Bipartisanship is also not the minority holding the overwhelming majority hostage to a failed ideology that is responsible for the problem in the first place. What the heck do you want? Should it all be done your way? and if so, WHY? I hope none of the stimulus money comes to your district due to your lack of support. We'll see what the people who gave you this job think of you then. IDIOT.

    February 15, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. John

    Rep Schock voted no on the stimulus?

    I see the GOP is back to where its historically proven to be best suited: Kneejerk opposition.

    February 15, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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