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. deb

    Another bitter republican who wouldn't vote for the stimulus bill no matter what's in it.

    February 15, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  2. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    How could he, a freshman, have gone against the Republican machinery when he needs it to help him in consolidating his hold. He knows the drill: you fall in line or leave the hill. Self-preservation is a primal instinct. The nobility of surrendering it for the greater good is not attractive.

    February 15, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. gino

    What a little shmidt!

    February 15, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. Chris from NY

    It seems like CNN can no loger afford investigative reporters. I am still waiting to hear someone from CNN say that the Republican proposal during the discussion of the bill that just passed was 2.5trillion dollars in tax cuts. For John McCain and this guy to claim with a straight face generaltional theft after he supported such a measure is not only hypocritical, it's outright stupidity. After they gave away 1.3 trillion dollars in tax cuts in 2001 and then advocate for another 2.5 trillion in another tax cuts is armed robbery in disguise.

    February 15, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  5. Julie Weathers

    Interesting that Obama used these tactics to try and bully the vote.

    I'm curious as to how much these after election campaign stops are costing the taxpayers. First we had the coronation train ride, then Peoria, the Florida and now he has to go to Phoenix to sign a bill he could sign in his office. All this traveling needs to be added into the cost of this white elephant bill.

    Someone please g

    February 15, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. Julie Weathers

    Interesting that Obama used these tactics to try and bully the vote.

    I'm curious as to how much these after election campaign stops are costing the taxpayers. First we had the coronation train ride, then Peoria, the Florida and now he has to go to Phoenix to sign a bill he could sign in his office. All this traveling needs to be added into the cost of this white elephant bill.

    Someone please give him a clue. The campaign is over. Let's try to rein in the ignorant spending for photo ops.

    February 15, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. jj

    Obama, forget the republicans. They will never support anything you do regardless, and are hoping for the failure of any economic recovery so they can crow about it in the next election. Quit pandering to them and move on.

    February 15, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. Jaime

    Just another GOP tool, it was obvious that his constituents wanted this Bill passed, he only voted no because that what his party told him to do.

    Obama needs to shut these morons out, he needs to play hardball and show them that he will not be held hostage by partisan BS.

    February 15, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. Conservative, FL

    Good to see a young young, well spoken, conservative congressman stand up for his constituents.

    February 15, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. John Doe

    I'm proud of him for making what he though was the right decision. He took what he saw, and made the dedcision based on the facts. He definately sounds more than his 27 years. No wonder he became a congressman

    February 15, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. Had It

    They all have been given the same speaking points.

    If the Greedy Obstructionist Party knows so much about how to behave in a bipartisan way, why have they not done it in 8 years?

    They want power – that why.

    Google PNAC and see what GOP has in mind.

    February 15, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. bryan

    Awesome. Way to vote your conscience.

    February 15, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. Kathy

    Somehow I feel that the Republicans are still running for their campaign. Nobody has told them the campaign ended November 4, 2009. Many of them are still mad about two factors: A smart man won and they lost.

    February 15, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. amt, CA

    I don't believe what he says (Schock) All the repubs say they want to work with the Pres, but none of them do. I think they are all "sour grapes" attitude. They lost & they can't live with it. To bad. Pres Obama is doing a great job & will continue to succeed, to fail is not one of his options, unlike the last Pres admin.

    February 15, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. CHANGE we need

    THIS is the kind of fresh perspective we need in Washington!!! We need representation in touch with the PEOPLE. The House and Senate are full of people that are so close to the forest they no longer can see the trees. Two words...

    TERM LIMITS

    We dont need Congressmen or Senators that have bragging rights to being in office when we had only 48 stars on the American Flag!!!!!

    THIS kid is a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter's Illinois night and CHANGE we need!!!

    February 15, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. Brian, San Jose, CA

    Good for him! He made the right decision and actually listened to his constituents!

    February 15, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. tbrown21061

    I'm so glad the Republicans are trying to stonewall everything. That should make it a lot easier to dismantle the Republican party in the next election. It appears they don't understand that there was a mandate for change. Oh well at least now it is easier to see who they look out for now.

    February 15, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Terry B.

    “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,”

    What a load of crap. Just like the rest of shrinking members of the "grumpy old party" you can't even tell the truth. Why couldn't you simply say "I'm sorry but the GOP leadership told me that if I don't vote no and sell my country out that I won't have any help running for re-election in 2010"....

    IDEOLOGY above America, you simply don't get it do you Republicans...

    February 15, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Tanya Kujath

    Can anyone say " Political Suicide?

    February 15, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  20. swest

    I think that when this Republican Congressman, who is new in the Senate, is basically going along to get along with his fellow members of the Senate. I think that he was trying to score points with his party. The interview would have been more credible if you had interviewed someone from the factory, and I mean a worker. John Kings is usually more thorough and either asks questions to present the other side or talks to someone on the other side.

    February 15, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Let's see, a central Illinois, red-neck, conservative doesn't like a Black, Chicago politician, turned-president and won't vote with him.

    I'm stunned!!!!!!!

    Remember Rep. Schock, your party caused this problem and your up for re-election in 2010! Enjoy your short-term experience in Washington, son!!!

    February 15, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. TonyS

    Wow, a senator that listens to his constituents and does what they want instead of telling them what is best. Can we clone this guy?

    We are living in a world where we are taxed, but not represented very well. Some major tough roads are ahead and we, the people lack political efficacy as our reps do whatever they please once they get to Washington.

    February 15, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. louis

    These republican guys are the dummest ever. They really don't care about their constituents. They just want to say "no" to anything proposed by the WH. Just like their coocoo leader Rush said, they just hope that (not just Obama, but) the whole country fail so they can go back to business as usual like the past 8 years. This is incredible. I can't wait to see many more of them booted out of congress for good in two years. After all the wrong they've done to this country, they still have the nerve to want to lead us into anything...or anywhere. OMG, WHEN WILL THEY GET IT????

    February 15, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Michael R.

    Towing the party line, even against the President. I can't say I'm surprised.

    February 15, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  25. dmjakers

    With guaranteed salaries, health insurance and pensions, Republican politicians find it easy to "just say no" to everything the President wants as he tries to help the Americans who are suffering.
    When they say they "want Obama to fail" we know that a President's job is to bring prosperity and peace back to America - so they want America to suffer even more purely for the sake of their own political benefit.
    Many of my customers are hurting badly due to eight years of doing things the Republican way.
    They claim they hate government and swear it doesn't work - but they're always running for office. Why are they so intent on being a part of something they're always demonizing? We found out the hard way that when Republicans run it, government doesn't work.
    They had two years and the longest most expensive election ever to argue their views and America voted for someone else. Since they refuse to help, they should quit and make room for someone who will.

    February 15, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32