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. George

    The stimulus bill may be far from perfect, but doing nothing like like republicans have done is worse. Pouting will not put America on track. Eight years of failed policy can not be corrected in 3 weeks of
    the Obama presidency. Now republicans, either help or go home.
    By the way, thanks Arlen Spector and the other 2 of you that had the
    fortitude to do what is right in this critical time.

    February 15, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Tony Prociutto

    Congressman Schock:

    Trust absolutely no one!!!!! Ever, ever, ever......especially in and from the State of Illinois..........while your in the State of Illinois.

    Oh yes, how many campaign promises have been stiffed since January 20, 2009?

    Good luck America????

    February 15, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Tom

    A refreshing story of someone with the integrity and guts to resist an obvious bribe.

    Congratulations and thank-you, Mr. Schock.

    February 15, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. Lois Rosby

    These Republicans need to get on board! They haven't been concerned about the American people the past 8 years and now they cannot even try to work with Democrats to find solutions.

    February 15, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. d999

    CLM=Career Limiting Move, but hey what do you expect from a 27 year old anyways......

    February 15, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Sue Ellen

    Sounds like Schock is one of John Boehner's new buttboys.

    February 15, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. raagos

    oh really? u listened constituents or GOP . U WORRY ABT UR RE-ELECTION AND I AM NOT BLAMING U, U DID WHATS RIGHT FOR U SELF.

    GOOD LUCK NEXT TIME

    February 15, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Mongo the Dancing Bear

    I commend this young congressman for voting the will of his constituents, instead of what he (may) have desired personally, or to simply "please the president", who was publicly gushing over him. It takes far more ba!!$ to do the right thing when it's not the popular thing. And I commend him for listening with descernment, and realizing this "stimulus bill" is anything but that – it's a bundle of lies that will put generations into debt.

    February 15, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Hulio

    wow !

    February 15, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Kathy in Florida

    President OBAMA, please stick with your own kind. These guys didn't vote you into office and they sure won't support you. They hate you and want you to fail. So stop kissing up. Try pleasing the folks who elected you. 2012 is around the corner.

    February 15, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  11. CJ

    He sounds like a good guy.

    February 15, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. karkri

    One more loser Republican in the making. He has the gall to say he's listening to his constituents? Hasn't he listened to hundreds of thousand of people (incl his constituents) being put out of work?

    February 15, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Why does the ticker say, '27-year old turns down Obama plea'? It should say, 'Illinois CONGRESSMAN turns down Obama plea'. The ticker always slants the headlines about Republicans to make them look ridicules, while the headlines about Dems (especially Obama) look like heroes and the people's saviors.

    Come on CNN, at least try and cover up your bias.

    February 15, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Reese

    About time somebody had the balls to listen to their people and vote against all of this mess that the are forcing upon us. I really don't understand where all this mythical money is coming from and if we have so much to give away and take away from real issues like education why can't we get rid of this trillion or quadrillion or whatever it is deficit?

    February 15, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. voter

    If Aaron doesn't think that creating jobs is good for your constituents, then, Aaron needs to be replaced. He does not represent the people hard hit in this economy.

    February 15, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. John J

    I understand where this guy is going. We all need to take a closer look at this bill. and i would vote for this bill but if the pork is more than the benifits then maybe congress should think this through.

    February 15, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. The Lady

    I hope your constituents vote for you again, the Republicans are only thinking about themselves because they want to have control again, they will pay for this when the constituents vote. If all the republicans were really concerned about us, we would not be in the mess we are in. You would have done something to stop this mess a long time ago while Bush was in the White house, after 8 years of a big mess you want to start thinking about us now "Give me a break" , just how dumb to you think we are. You don't have enough sense or backbone to do what needs to be done, your just playing follow the leader.

    February 15, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. gina

    Boo hoo. I guess it is only ok for the GOP to use peer pressure. Let me go find my tiny violin...

    February 15, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. Alex

    The GOP likes to put all the blame for lack of bipartisanship on Obama, but it takes 2 to tango. They're just doing this to send a message and to set themselves up for their re-election campaigns.

    February 15, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. Obama - NOPE

    Republicans do what's best for America. Vote Republican – dependable, and proven better for our future.

    February 15, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  21. st

    Stop acting like a republican dumb. Read the bill with your brain and then vote

    February 15, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. Karen in Florida

    Peoria is well represented by their Congressman, poorly represented by their ex-Senator.

    February 15, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. texas Demo

    President Obama should stop going out of his way to gain
    support from these republicans that have been threathen
    by their watchdog committees. Just go ahead and ram it
    like the republicans did when they were in control. Senators
    like lindsey Gramm are nothings but cry babys and moruns.

    February 15, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. Kevin

    Who voted for this young guy? Why are the Republicans so dumb?

    February 15, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. Eric

    Glad to see that Republican partisanship is alive and well in the Congress. Knowing how the legislative process really works, its hard to believe that absolutely no republican idea like "tax cuts" were part of this bill.

    Oh tax cuts were.....

    I'm sure they are banking on the economy continuing to tank and then they can say.... "See it didn't work". God help them if it does work, because they will look like partisan idiots. I for one want people in Washington who are going to make decisions. Inaction and rock throwing is so childish and out of touch. Too many people have lost their jobs, homes and dignity....

    February 15, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
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