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. ttyymmnn

    He "looked at what [he] knew about the bill", but did he read it?

    February 15, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Nathan

    So he says his constituents put pressure on him to support the bill, but he decided against it because of his responsibility to his constituents.

    With that kind of double-talk it sounds like this guy has just what it takes to be a republican congressman.

    February 15, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. mb-texas

    Freshman Rep.Schock voted in line with his leaders as all other
    Republicans.He knew if he voted for the President's stimulus bill
    his name would be mud as the old saying goes,and he would have been the only Republican to cast an aye vote.

    February 15, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Jessie

    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.”

    “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...ultimately did he vote against because it wasn't bipartisan or becuase it was not in the best interest of his constituents? I'm unclear!

    February 15, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. MARIO L.A

    I am not a republican by any stretch of the imagination, but hearing a politician today say they are listening to the will of their constituants is like a breath of fresh air.

    Obama campaigned on brining the voice of the people to politics, and not politics to the people.

    well everybody is doing a lot of selling, and a lot of talking, but no one seems to be really listening

    Lincoln, gave his life to represent AMERICANS, Martin L. King Jr. gave his life representing Americans, many men and women in uniform, and great men and women for civil rights gave the ultimate sacrifice for Americans, will you put your career on the line to represent Americans?

    You have the legacy sufficient for this time, immortalize it! give Americans the American promise

    February 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Marge

    During bush's REIGN the republicans followed him around on their knees trying to be the first to kiss butt. No matter what he did it was wonderful, starting a war, killing millions of people and throwing the country into a tailspin with banks failing, people in foreclosure and 8 trillion dollar debt. Then this nutcase starts to follow the path the republicans are taking with this administration.

    Do everything you can to deny
    Do everything you can to obstruct
    Start rumors
    Tell lies
    Darn the American people let them float like bush did them on Katrina
    Their job is to sink this country further just to try to get republicans back in office. The American people are the ones suffering with the way the republicans are acting. And if they think they lost big in 2008 wait til 2010 rolls around. The republican will be like the expression old soldiers..."they'll just fade away". And good riddance too.

    February 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Dan

    Interesting...
    The majoriry of approved ammendments were from the GOP.

    Thank goodness the Dems refused to go along with McCain's huge $2.5 trillion tax cut for the rich...aka the Bank CEO's.

    February 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. ralph yetter

    Barack Obama has the task for solving the economic problem that developed during the time period that had Republican leadership. As Obama has indicated, he did not cause the problem, and he is busy with a solution that has the blessing of well known experts. He states that he can't put much faith in the republican methods to solve our economic problem since their solutions have been tried in the past and failed.
    Now it appears that the Republican Party is acting like a group of critics of the Democratic Party rather than looking out for the good of the nation.
    The Republican Party can't be much anymore since members have indicated that Rush Slimeball (sic). still sings their song and he hopes that Obama fails. That remark sounds Un-American to me. Schock can't be much, He is following all of the Republican talking points.
    regards, Ralph Yetter

    February 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Illinoisan

    I'm a little unclear as to why on the cnn.com home page it says "27-year-old turns down Obama's plea" for this article. It seems like they are unnecessarily focusing on Rep. Schock's age. Would the headline read "64-year-old turns down Obama's plea" if the article was about former Rep. Ray LaHood, whom Rep. Schock replaced?

    February 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. janet

    how do the republican know this won't work what they have done in the last 8 years have not work . I think they really want Obama to fail and do not won't to work with him . republicans only are for rich people of their color so you other republicans of other color watch your back because they really put up a show when you're around turn your back and listen what they're saying about you

    February 15, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. flexx

    another republican born.......it's a damm shame! brainwashed from birth.....

    February 15, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    A lot Republicans just consistently complain and criticizing everything that Obama attempts to do for the American people. Of course, we already know that Repugnants aren't going to be agreeable. The Republicans are typically very angry people. They are angry at themselves for voting for Bush twice. They are angry for being duped into trusting the evangelicals with the direction of their party, voting for a "born-again" Bush who basically lied to them and to the country for 8 years. They are angry that most Americans have thrown away their "conservative ideologies" because they don't work for a modern society . Republicans have classic symptoms of denial. They are angry with themselves, so they project their anger onto anyone who doesn't think or look exactly like them. For the most part, Republicans pretend to be perfect, godly, and righteous, but their masks are cracking and we can see who they really are. Their polished philosophies no longer shine. Republicans have always acted scared, fearful, paranoid, and seem to desperately need to turn everyone into "the enemy," a sign of mental illness.

    February 15, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Matthew, Detroit

    The kid has character no matter the detractors.

    February 15, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    Of course, we already know that Repugnants aren't going to be agreeable. The Republicans are typically very angry people. They are angry at themselves for voting for Bush twice. They are angry for being duped into trusting the evangelicals with the direction of their party, voting for a "born-again" Bush who basically lied to them and to the country for 8 years. They are angry that most Americans have thrown away their "conservative ideologies" because they don't work for a modern society . Republicans have classic symptoms of denial. They are angry with themselves, so they project their anger onto anyone who doesn't think or look exactly like them. For the most part, Republicans pretend to be perfect, godly, and righteous, but their masks are cracking and we can see who they really are. Their polished philosophies no longer shine. Republicans have always acted scared, fearful, paranoid, and seem to desperately need to turn everyone into "the enemy," a sign of mental illness.

    February 15, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    A lot Republicans just consistently complain and criticizing everything that Obama attempts to do for the American people. Of course, we already know that Repugnants aren't going to be agreeable. The Republicans are typically very angry people. They are angry that most Americans have thrown away their "conservative ideologies" because they don't work for a modern society . Republicans have classic symptoms of denial. \

    February 15, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  16. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    Republicans have always acted scared, fearful, paranoid, and seem to desperately need to turn everyone into "the enemy," a sign of mental illness.

    February 15, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  17. Virginia

    The three Republican senators made sure it was a bipartisan bill by demanding changes...and not necessarily good ones...but none the less, their demands were met and so it is just a flat-out LIE to say it was not bipartisan. Secondly, your constituents, Mr. Schock, will appreciate any help they will receive out of the bill and maybe they will remember that you were not the one who delivered it to them. Hmmm. The train is leaving the station and you had better get on board or you may be left behind! Thanks for nothing!

    February 15, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  18. Larry

    The Democrats have just proved many things with their bill,and I am sure most, if not all of the Democrats are proud of their priorities.

    Nearly all items for Veterans Affairs were reduced and the $2 billion the Senate wanted for VA construction was wiped out altogether. The VA did get one thing: $1 billion for medical facilities renovation and retooling.

    # Military construction: Cut and put into a general pot, a change from targeted money for each branch of the services. Army construction alone went from $600 million in the Senate and $900 million in the House to $180 million in the final bill. But negotiators compromised over a general military construction fund - the House wanted $3.75 billion while the Senate allocated $118 million and settled on $1.45 billion for all services.

    This in its self pretty much says it all.

    February 15, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  19. True Conservative

    The Democratic Party is becoming a Religion....and CNN is trying to become the church

    February 15, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  20. tag...

    you go congressman...stick to your guns no matter what the meshia says!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. doolindalton

    We can hope the voters of Peoria will make a former Republican congressman in 2010. Why would anyone turn down thousands of jobs for their district?

    February 15, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. JAMES BELL

    Obama did not become president by being a fool. He already knew that Schock was gonna vote against him!

    Schock was a victim of 'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!'

    Once the stimulus starts to take effect as the economic 'multiplier effect' begins to drive the economy, Obama will come back to Schock's district and tell everyone that he voted against the good things ( jobs, etc.) that they are now enjoying.

    He (schock) will be history!

    February 15, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  23. George

    This guy is a total douchebag. Just wait until 2 years from now when he will have become a has been

    February 15, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. IMPEACH NOW!!!

    Way to stand up to the Messiah, worst president ever. 1,435 days until Inauguration 2013, and hopefully the end of an error!!

    February 15, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  25. Obama 2.0

    What a shame, the young lad HAD a promising career, oh well, i hear they will be hiring in Alsaka to build a bridge!

    February 15, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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