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. lieNoMore

    Republican history apparently only lasts about 1 minute. We suffer through 8 years of REPUBLICAN dimwit and friends trashing everything from the economy to the Constitution with no concern for Bipartisanship.

    Now these crying whiners are bitching like a bunch of babies about how they want "meld" their spoiled rich kid ideas into the mix. How about shut-to-hell-up and do something for your country and try and be cooperative instead of playing politics as usual??!!

    February 16, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Nana68

    None of us are sure all of this stimulus will work but even when a part of it does wonder what response the Reps will have? This is going to be interesting to watch. We know who will take credit (oh thats the part I put in there) thats exactly what they will say. At least Obama has started some where, haven't heard one idea yet what the reps would do, that is what I don't understand they have griped and griped but made no plausible contributions.

    February 16, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. mike

    Good for him!! He will get re-elected. Not so sure obama will, in fact he probably won't.

    February 16, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. sherry

    CANT THINK FOR HIMSELF.....WENT ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER REPUB'S......ITS ALL OR NOTHING

    February 16, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Jenny Rome Ga

    Gutsey move on the young mans part. It would hvae been easy to be intimidated or awed by the trappings of the Presidency but the young man did what his constituints wanted. I think he may have ben wrong not to support the stimulus package but I admire the heck out of a man who listens to his constituants. ARE YOU LISTENING REP GINGRY?

    February 16, 2009 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. Tate

    Wow somebody who cares about the country and not sleazy politics like BO. Good for him, Obama has been a disaster so far, the guy cant even put a cabinet together. You wonder why Illinois is such a disaster look who was running the place.

    February 16, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Ed Barczak

    Believe the move was Partisan; but, non the less, Congressman
    Schock stuck to his guns. Brave and bold move; Congrats.

    February 16, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. Bubba

    And when we look back in a few years for scapegoats, Schock will be firmly on record against economic recovery.

    February 16, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    Good for you! You are right....this is not stimulus.

    February 16, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  10. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    Must not have been anything in the bill for the, Ha, Ha, "Honorable"? Schock!!!! Republicans make me want to puke!!!!

    February 16, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  11. ugh

    How disrespectful to the Congressman to title this story "27-year-old turns down Obama's plea."

    Why not "Illinois Representative turns down 47-year-old's plea?"

    February 16, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  12. Carlos

    What is really going to be funny is that if the President Obama's stimulus package does restart the economy the Republican's once againg made the wrong choice. Instead of comming to the middle and showing us they really care they desided to keep themselves all the way to the right. I see that my party didn't learn from the election and is just digging us deeper in the hole.

    February 16, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  13. Mike

    Aaron Shock for Illinois Governor!

    February 16, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  14. jnc

    Who cares what this nut thinks. The stupidity of Republicans is starting at an earlier age. God Bless America........Let the Demo, starting grooming some real down to earth american youth, who are sensitive to the plight of humankind. That's what we really need........................................... Obama, please do us a big favor, stop asking these jerk Republicans to support you. We can do bad by ourselves......................

    February 16, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Dr Mark Carl Parisien

    Mr. Mark Carl Parisien says: it will take cooperation and time to fix the current problems with the economy. Thanks for your post.

    February 16, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  16. Stephy

    Can someone explain to me what are the interest of his constituents...?
    anyone?... do they match the interest of the country at all?
    I need clarification...

    February 16, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  17. Susan

    This is what what we need more in Congress, a politician making decisions for the right reasons, not political reasons.

    February 16, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. AmFem

    I hope his constituents remember this when its time to vote again, and Obama's stimulus package proves to have a positive effect on our economy.

    I hope all the voters pay attention to how their Republican reps, both in the Senate and House, voted and decided to pick their party over their country.

    February 16, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. Roberto

    No surprise here. Schock is onboard with the GOP plan to discredit Obama and play obstructionist for 4 years. THe GOP really could not give a rat's patoot about America. It's all about the party.

    February 16, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. Brad of IL.

    Finally a congressman with a brain. He will get re-elected by the people he chose to serve . He listened. He didn't fall for this car-salesman stunt from Obama. I guess Air Force one just is not what it's made out to be, or the truth is our President just ain't what he was suppose to be.I think the latter is right in this situation.God please bless this Nation and give a real Leader in 2010.

    February 16, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. David

    No matter how good or bad something is, change takes time and does not happen on one day. For Republicans to hold themselves higher is a joke. Where were those morals the last eight years? Oh, they had none; they just did as they wished. So, even though I do not agree with all the tactics of the Democrats, the Republicans have no one to blame but there selves for leaving such bitterness during the past last eight years. So, please get off your high horse of morals and join the rest. Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock stuck with the other bullies in Washington, not his beloved constituents. As Republicans threatened their own party members to run their own candidate against them in re-election, great unity people, that’s the party I want in charge.

    February 16, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  22. Tony G

    Obama needs to stop playing buddy with Republicans and start playing hard ball. Republicans had the "nuclear option" during the Bush Administration and didn't allow a single Democratic proposal get past the Congress the last 8 years. These people obviously do not like bipartisanship so the ones who got elected and hold power need to yield their power and make things happen.

    February 16, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  23. Tony G

    Obama needs to stop playing buddy with Republicans and start playing hard ball. Republicans had the "nuclear option" during the Bush Administration and didn't allow a single Democratic proposal get past the Congress the last 8 years. These people obviously do not like bipartisanship so the ones who got elected and hold power need to yield their power and make things happen. The Republicans have gotten us into enough trouble. Enough is enough.

    February 16, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  24. Uh Huh

    “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.”

    Now THAT'S the type of politician we can believe in.

    The only benefit I can see from this plan is that it may drive up inflation and the country will go into a depression and as a result, many of the illegal aliens will leave the country to find work in Mexico. And that is change we can believe in.

    February 16, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  25. Jon

    GOOD FOR HIM! Now let's hope he doesn't become corrupted during his tenure in D.C.

    February 16, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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