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. Obama - NOPE

    2010 can not come fast enough. We need more Republicans.

    February 16, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. Ven

    Mr. Schock (like several republicans) seems to be confused on the causes of his vote. At one point, he hints that "his accountability to his constituents" led to his vote and later says "lack of collaborative meld of ideas" led to his vote...against stimulus.

    Republicans held the congress in last 6 of 8 years and white house for last 8 years. They have brought the economy to ruin. Esp with ideas like "economy is fundamentally strong?" – we can only hope for more ruin... Thankfully their ideas were kept out

    February 16, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. Willie

    I don't understand this. Truly I do not.

    Lawmakers from both sides of the isle worked heavily throughout the entire past two weeks to make amendments, concessions, changed, and lots of removals to the stimulus bill. However, when everything was said and done it looks like the entire Republican party was just playing a game the whole time: They never intended to actually vote for the bill, just kick it around, beat some money out of it, force both sides to agree to money in other areas they favored (like tax breaks), then all voted against it when it came to the floor.

    I'm sorry but this isn't bipartisan politics that is for the betterment of this country. This is hardline partisan politics, plain and simple. As a non-affiliated voter, I find this level of deceit sickening, uncalled for during a time of crisis, piety, and honestly just downright uncaring for the nation. The entire Republican party should be ashamed of themselves.

    February 16, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. shstotts

    Cong. Schock demonstrated he is just another lemming in the fading neocon-dominated republican party. He should wise up before he finds himself standing alone as the old lemmings go over the edge into oblivion.

    February 16, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Alicia

    What a ridiculous story. Who cares! Does it make someone at CNN feel good to put down President Obama?

    This guy drank the KookAid too.

    Why don't repubs wear the American flag pin anymore? Are they protesting President Obama?

    February 16, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. Betty

    I am so tired of these 'whiney' Republicans who chose not to support the stimulus package. They claim Obama is not bipartisan? Excuse me. He extended his hand of bipartisanship to them, only to have them slap it away. These are the same Republicans who supported the war in Iraq, the tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in our education programs, turned their heads while GWB and his cronies trashed our Contitution. Sure, they voted to spend Trillions on an unnecessary war in Iraq, but they can't afford to spend a few bucks to get their own country out of a deep hole and back on track??? Give me a break! I hope they all go back home and get their socks beat off at mid-term. They don't represent the citizens that sent them to Washington, they only support more of the same failed policies.

    February 16, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. yuri

    Poor Schock, the rookie Rep. of Peoria of the GOP! He is sure as heck going to deny the fact that he, most likely, was brainwashed by his seniors in a subtle way, to vote along party lines. We understand that, Aaron! Next time it will be nice for you to think independently.

    February 16, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. Tony

    I am glad no Republicans are voting for this bill. That way after it fails miserably the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.

    February 16, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. MAMA 4 OBAMA

    I'm sorry to bust people (Republicans) big bubble but huh... NON of the Rep. aren't doing any Bipartisanship... they didn't even vote for anything and try to work with the Dems to make it happen. SERIOUSLY they had their chance to fix something with Bush was there!!!!!!

    Seriously the Rep must have forgot about what it is like to be a real citizen in the US... I'm a single mother working two jobs and sleeping on the floor and barely can afford food to put in the frig. I'm scared I will lose my job! There has been lay offs. Can some one make something happen? Bipartisanship....Republicans... Please ...you don't know the meaning!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Cynthia

    Does this mean that this idiot doesn't want the money for his state because we could sure use it in Florida? I hope the people of his state speak loud and clear at the election.

    February 16, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Lane from IN

    I like Obama but I think he is in the wrong on this stimulus package. I wish he had gone with 50 or maybe 75 billion in targeted spending instead. When the government tries to spend 800 billion, that means that roughly 80 billion will be wasted. That is just way, way too much money to waste, especially in these tough times. 50 or 75 billion would not have done that much damage, even though that is still a lot.

    February 16, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Connor

    Not all your constituants opposed the bill, Aaron. I am one of them, who 110% supported it. You got to DC and chose to put politics before people. Didn't take long. All those adds you ran in the campaign portrayed a man of better character. You may have set a new record for how fast a person can sell out.

    February 16, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Beca

    Another smart Republican! Plus has integrity, dares to disagree with the president, I like that..

    February 16, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Kelly J McEntee

    "Issue with the legislative process that resulted in the massive stimulus bill"??? The legislative process has now been in place centuries longer than this young man from Illinois. This young member may find himself out of his new career at the next election if the stimulus bill works, a decision that may very well come back and bite all Republican House members. Eight years of Republican control brought our economy to where it is now. Do they really think the People want more of that?

    February 16, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. ja

    President Obama need to govern accordingly and forget about reaching across the isle, the GOP aren't interested

    February 16, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. fearful for my country

    When a man will lie, cheat and steal to get into office what do you expect. He has arm twisted from day one.

    February 16, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. demwit

    This bill only pushes our national debt up to 80% of our GDP. Whats wrong with that??

    February 16, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Antoine P. Brunson

    Illinois politics are ugly and at the base of it is an unsaid truth. Racism is ailve and well in Illinois. It is the pink elephant in the room that no one talks about. I see Schock as the young White boy thumbing his nose at the Black President. This action would be in line with his "constituents " in downstate Illinois.

    February 16, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. TJ

    I can't beleive Aaron wanted to talk substance. Good that John King was there to try to get him off that topic and on to more important things like what it must be like to be given an audience with Obama on Air Force One. I think King was disappointed that Aaron was not as star struck as he was. Maybe on that day, they weren't serving the Kool Aid to Aaron. Clearly, the press pool has had plenty, and I think CNN has its own supply.

    February 16, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. liz

    Good for him! It's awesome to see someone vote how they believe and not be swayed by the President's rock star presence

    February 16, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    It wasn't bipartisan thats the reason I didn't vote for it, even though it could help the American People, you are already showing signs of stupidity at a young age. Its like monkey see monkey do, Please find your own mind and use it. Don't be a follower be a leader.

    February 16, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. Pel

    I admire the young man for his position even if I disagree with his politics.

    I hope he does not get in bed to much with the right wing of the republican party. I would hope he see the wisdom of the moderates.

    February 16, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. MsRoman

    How could he listen to his constituents and still vote against the stimulus. He should have been honest and said that he was listening to the Republican leadership.

    February 16, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. BOJ Jr From Raleigh

    Aaron who another GOP joke

    February 16, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Amazed

    Ok, then how about your constituents not receive any benefits from the bill either. The Repubican party line is such a crock...

    February 16, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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