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. Canadian soccer mom

    "i listened to my contituents".

    In other words, it makes him a stonger republican.

    February 16, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. We feel it too.

    Please tell Barack Canadians like what he is doing with the stimulus package and hope he enjoys his visit with our leader this week.

    February 16, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. JoAnn

    I think it is refreshing to see someone who is not buying into the new Celebrity in the White House. He is using his intelligence instead of just caving because of pressure from Obama.

    February 16, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. niki belic

    first!!

    February 16, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Julie

    I love how all of the GOP Congressmen/Senators continue to have their panties in a wad over anything President Obama does. The obstructionist game plan might work for your core base, but it is not going to help you hold onto your seats when so many of your non-rich constituents are hurting (I am talking to you Lindsey Graham) Meanwhile countless analysts (including Republican George Will) has noted how far out on a limb Mr. Obama has gone in the the name of bi-partisanship. This is tactic of unbending wills is going to hurt the GOP in two years and I am going to laugh.

    February 16, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. MIBinOhio

    Good for Schock. He hasn't fallen victim to the cult of personality.

    February 16, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. For Real

    He's a young REPUB! What do you expect him to do? He will side with his party regardless of how he feels about the stimulus package. He's looking out for his next term - knowing he will need his Repub buddies to get elected.

    February 16, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Booda

    Man, the republicans are laying on thick! What shameful behavior from the folks who brought you "we don't know where the money went, we just had to get it out" and "It was only 2 billion, who's counting"!

    What gall to try and frame this as some loss, the republicans are upset because they no longer control the mighty purse strings of the federal government.

    February 16, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. William J.

    He's absolutely right. A prolonged depression is definitely best for the people of Peoria.

    Republicans are utterly ignorant when it comes to the economy.

    February 16, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. Joe

    Rep Schock is obviously a man of ethics. He is exactly right when he says the money in this plan does not stimulate the economy.
    The tax cut (which will allow me to keep and extra $13 per pay period) is nothing less than a slap in the face from the Democratic Party to every citizen of The United States. Although the Democratic Party views the average American as helpless and ignorant, they will soon discover that we are not and do not enjoy being treated as such. If this stimulus package fails [and I have no reason to believe it won't ] I think the Democratic Party will have a difficult time keeping their majority in tact during the next election cycle.

    February 16, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Don in Boynton Fl

    This little spoiled kid is only listening to the GOP and taking a hard stand. The tactic is to allow President Obama to wine and dine them, then get him to commit to the issue that was "supposedly agreed upon, then without warning back out of the agreement or not acknowledge the agreement at all. He will then look like ehe was makking things up and / or his plans will be disrupted enough that another direction will need to be taken... not to mention the time that will be wasted.

    Leave those idiological right wingers alone Mr. President ..... They will never work with the left to help the people... unless their RICH.

    February 16, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Joe Average

    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.”
    ---------------

    It is about time these representatives took notice of their constituents. Smart young man.

    February 16, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Lois

    I think what the republican politicians need to understand is that their programs and leadership got us where we are today and the do nothing stance is not going to get us out of the mess they created. And please don't give me the lame arugment that the economy was going bad when Clinton left office, you were in control for 8 years.

    February 16, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. janet, ohio

    Obama is shameless.

    February 16, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Kitchen Police

    Schock is voting the way he is told to vote by party leaders. If he were to vote for his constituents he would have voted for the bill.

    February 16, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Death of America by Obama

    Sir, you are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for honestly speaking out.

    February 16, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Steve from Florida

    Sorry folks, but Republicans as a group (except 3) are quite stupid!

    February 16, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Lady V

    Once again, it seems to me the Republicans are putting party first and country second or third or... do they even care?

    February 16, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. SA in OO

    “Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,”

    If you're a Republican these days you don't get to make up your own mind. The GOP has already said they will work to unseat the three Senators who did decide to work for a compromise bill that they could live with. The message for the GOP is clear – either you vote the party line or we will get someone who doesn't want to think for themselves to take your place.

    With this kind of tactic, how could a freshman legislator ever "vote their own mind."

    February 16, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. tiddle

    Good for him. :)

    February 16, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. jw

    Ok, no more Mr. 'reach across the aisle'. You shake my hand and behind my back give me the finger – no deal, dude, next time take the freaking bus.

    February 16, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Katie S

    Barack,
    It is time to move on. You have done your best to reach out across party lines, but still comes up empty. You are losing ground "licking" republican egos. It's becoming pathetic. This man nor any republican in the "House" will vote for anything you put out there as they don't want to be the one who is pointed out as a "traitor" by the Republican Party as well as their constituents. So please for the love of what's right, move on!

    February 16, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. ran

    Hopefully the great people of IL will not reelect this another republican obstructionist.

    February 16, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Joe American

    Typical republican obstructionist . Republican policies got America to where we are today and they still want America to Fail. America voted! and we dont care what the republicans have to say. Im tired of reaching accross the isle. The republicans dont why do the dems. I bet the republicans loose even more in the next election.

    February 16, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Tom

    But......but....Obama ASKED you to! Isn't that enough? Who the hell cares what your constituents think? Obama knows better.

    February 16, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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