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. Jerry

    I am a life-long Democrat, but it's about time someone showed some backbone in Washington and stood up to President Nobama. Good for you Representative Schock. Throwing money at every issue that's ailing this country IS NOT the way to fix the economy. Day in and day out, President Nobama shows more and more of his immaturity. Take the union's bill, for example. How can he support a very small minority deciding for the majority? This bill will only hurt businesses further and the economy in general. The only individuals that will benefit from this bill are the already fat cats at the unions. Take the social service/human services funding. This funding continues to throw good money after bad money. These programs are like a revolving door. Somehow the same individuals continue to participate in these programs year after year. Most of these services providers are ineffective and the training and jobs created is so insignificant that investing such large amounts of funding should be seriously reconsidered. So much for positive change.

    Stay tuned!

    February 16, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. william . Oregon

    He should read the comments on McCain and find out what America thinks about the GOP.

    February 16, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. GWB2012

    YOU GO! STICK TO YOUR PRINCIPLES! I WAS WILLING TO BE OPEN MINDED ABOUT OBAMA AND I BELIEVED HIS RHETORIC ABOUT WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS – I WAS IGNORANT ENOUGH TO BELIEVE HIM – JUST LIKE THE SHEEPLE THAT FOLLOW HIM.

    February 16, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. Peter

    Anazing!!! This young republican Congressperson is already political toast. He will never set eye or foot on Air Force One, ever again. Watch for this young man to be removed fomr office very soon.

    February 16, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. We love Sarah

    Well you have less than 2 years to convince your constituents, “That you made the right choice,” in choosing party line over the public well being.

    February 16, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Peter

    Republirats seek ways to frustrate and destroy Obama's plans. Seems like they hate this nation with a vengeance. LOL!

    February 16, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. Ken

    Give me a break. He was told as was all Republican members of the House to vote against it.

    February 16, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  8. H. Charles

    Why is it that when republicans speak they only trash the bill without offering any solutions?

    February 16, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  9. Dennis

    How about that, he's only twenty seven and already knows his constituents are the rich and corporations who only want those tax breaks and nothing for anyone else! Gonna be a short career isn't it!

    February 16, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Deb

    Monkey see Monkey do........

    February 16, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. mtv

    This is so amazing.........the Republicans ruined the nation in their 8 year run............put us in this HUGE Debt...........and they are trying to make is seem as though it's OBAMA"S fault???????? He got their mess on his desk, first day in office with a HUGE BOW ON IT!!!!!!!!! AND NOW THESE IDIOTS ARE TALKING???????? HERE'S A HINT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A TRUE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM........KEEP YOU MOUTH SHUT INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING WITH NO RESOLVE!!!!!!!!!! REPUBS HAD 8 YEARS TO GET IT RIGHT AND ALL THEY DID IS CREATE THIS MESS............WHERE WERE YOU COMPLAINTS WHEN YOU PREVIOUS COMMANDER IN CHIEF........THAT IDIOT BUSH WAS IN OFFICE???????? NON OF YOU HAD THE NERVE TO OPPOSE HIM ...........AND INSTEAD BACKED HIM IN CREATING THE MESS WE ARE IN NOW. TOO LATE TO SPEAK!!!!! SO SHUT UP!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. Andrew

    It's sad really. Of course most of the money will stimulate the economy. The hold-up among many Republicans is their idealogy. They want to go back to the days of Bush and Reagan, when corporations have less of a tax burden and decreased regulation (and pocket the money) and millionaires get huge tax breaks. Sad stuff, Republicans.

    February 16, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  13. a REAL American

    It's good to see a politician actually do what's right, even when being shmoozed and kissed up to by the President, of all people. Are you listening, Sen. Specter? Much different than selling out after going to a Super Bowl party, right?

    February 16, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  14. Virginia Republican

    Good for you, young man!

    February 16, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  15. Michelle

    I think this bill was a compromise. I think that some of the Republicans in office voted against the bill for honorable reasons (i.e. believed that government shouldn't be meddling in the economy) but most of them voted against it along party lines for the sake of being reelected. The change I want to see is a change in the Republican party. More tax cuts = More of the same = I'm not interested.

    February 16, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  16. Phillip Bunn

    And just what is his responsibility to his "constituents"? To cast the same partisian programs, problems and political pandering that Bush/Cheney had all Americans impaled upon? "Meld together" he says "that didn't happen in this case." Has it happened for the past eight years? Hell no! It's all Bulls–t. Call it what it is; a national "ballgame:" one team vs the other. Outcome; simply "to win." At all costs. The winning team gets the big fat bonus and the American middle-class taxpayer picks up the bar tab. Why don't you vote on that, "youngest and hottest member of the 111th Congress"! You make me sick. This ain't and issure of GQ. It is the future of this country. Treat it as such or tote your young ass home where you belong.

    February 16, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. RH, North Carolina

    Republican Rep. Aaron Schock stated the stimulus package was not the best interest of his constituents. Bravo young man. Our House of Reps., Congress and Senate are blind sighted to the american people. You reward failure with this stimulus package. I pay my mortgage and manage my money at less than $12.00 per hour. And, these elite, money mangers and leaders of ours are taxing me for those who fail. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CITIZENS wake up and get involved before its TOO late.

    February 16, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  18. Sandy Martin

    RIGHT ON !!! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!! This is what America needs leaders who listen to their constituents!!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  19. Sharon Kitchen

    Yep......why would people want to eat/have a roof over their heads?
    Silly. Right? Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!oh so wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. todd

    Who is Shock kidding? His decision was not based upon the best interests of his constituents, it was fully based upon what he sees as HIS best political interests. Like so many, he thinks he can be President some day by suckling from the Republican consevative hog and the heck with the people he represents.

    February 16, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. Allison, NH

    Another Republican voting with his party and against the American people.

    REPUBLICANS: Stop listening to your fellow Rebublican's and start listening to true economists!

    WHERE WERE THE REPUBLICAN'S WHEN THE CORPORATE BANKS WERE SEEKING AMERICAN MONEY?

    February 16, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  22. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    If he's the future of the republican party, the GOP is doomed. He sounds like Boehner in training.

    February 16, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. AndyB

    This summed it up pretty well.

    "The Republicans set the economy on fire
    and now they're blocking the fire trucks."
    - Paul Begala, CNN,

    February 16, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Zac

    Good to know there are people in Illinois with a backbone!

    February 16, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. Really now

    What we need is a 3rd AIG bailout. Someone slap this guy.

    February 16, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
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