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. jenn

    Republicans seem to think that "bipartisanship" means pandering to right-wing extremists even when the majority of American voters have clearly indicated a different preference. Sorry, guys. This country voted for "change"–which means a "change" from the same kind of garbage Republicans forced down our throats during the Bush years without any attempt at bipartisanship whatsoever.

    Obama angered a lot of people on the left by reaching out to the right and putting so many things into the stimulus bill that Republicans wanted. But they still backstabbed him so they could grandstand in front of their right-wing base. Well, that might help them out in a primary contest, but in a general election, they're going to be in big trouble...and deservedly so.

    I guess you can afford to let the economy go down in flames when you have a trust fund, but the rest of us non-GOP-bigwigs appreciate Obama's leadership on the economy. No one can say he didn't try to reach out–it's not his fault that Republicans are intent on self-destruction.

    February 16, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Mature Woman

    Looks are only skin deep. I'm not impressed.

    February 16, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. alabama j

    looking out for his rich friends but thats his right 1 term and your out the people will not forget aaron

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Chris Jester

    I have had it with Republicans crying foul over partisanship. They write the book on it and when they were in power they had a "mandate" to do whatever they wanted, according to them, but as soon as Obama doesn't bend to their will they want to complain about it. He made several attempts to bring them into the fold, they wanted nothing of it b/c they will do anything to sabotage this nation just b/c they lost. I have more credibility on economics than they do and I'm a complete idiot when it comes to Econ policy!

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Jinny Lee

    My question is .... Before mouthing off.....what percentage of the GOP actually read the bill? Ignorance and self- righteousness does nothing for the American people. My suggestion is....End the war in Congress before you attempt to end the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Kenneth Anderson

    If it wasn't for the Republicans and George Bush we wouldn't be in the mess where in now. So him and John McCain need to qiut wineing and move on and just get over it.

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Bindiqi

    Shock has some common sense!

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. ray

    anyone, anyone, guess why this obstructionist did that? he wants the spotlight . these republicans should all burn in hell soon. i wish and pray everyday these people vanish off the earth one of these days.

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. JUDE

    I've skimmed through this stimulus package and It seems to be a great layout for a recovery plan, I don't believe many of the lawmakers who oppose the bill read or even entirely skimmed through it... the integration of energy into infrastructure, money for education, money to states... it seems to be a plan that will kill a flock of birds with one stone, the question would be when would the recovery back to stability be. To me the best thing to do would be to manage the TARP funds so that it compliments the stimulus bill.

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Bess Hannigan

    I understand the stimulus package is NOT perfect.
    I understand that there has to be a certain amount of partisanship in American Politics.
    What I don't understand is how Republicans can watch jobs, businesses, healthcare,infrastructure and education go by the wayside in order to get the "package" they want. What was it the Republicans wanted for a stimulus package in the first place?
    There has been 8 years of Republican leadership in this country they had their chance and look where the United States is at this point in time.
    The Republican Party at this point in time is NOT the Republican Party of my parents.

    February 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. georgie

    maybe obama should listen to the people too!!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    How about the press instead of sucking up to Obama at every turn start doing their job and report the news like...just what is in this stimulus package besides the payback for votes, and which does nothing to create new jobs, is going to turn this economy around?

    February 16, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Aaron

    I went to college at Bradley with this kid, disgraceful loser. Caterpillar can thank him for making such a reckless decision.

    February 16, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. StevenAK

    I'm sure he read it.

    February 16, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Adam Curl

    This guy voted against the bill because the bill was not truly bipartinsanship. Are you serious! This bill creates jobs for the jobless. It helps the housing market. It helps America. Obviously no one else was running for his Senate possition, and he was the only option. Some one should remind these Senators that they are supposed to be the liaison between the people who voted them in and the government. So, form your own conclusions based on facts, and not what your collegues are voting on. Happy Presidents' Day!

    February 16, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. Obama mama

    Good for this young man; too many of your country's youth have fallen for the con job spouted out by Obama and his corrupt bandwagon.

    In fact, the other article on CNN this morning:

    "Obama to form auto industry task force,"

    Stinks of more and more government....is socialist at it's very core.

    I no longer support Obama. He's promised many things to inner city folks, and he's lied about them. He's not transparent.

    February 16, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Christine

    I am a single, hard working, tax paying, woman with no kids. I won't be getting anything from the stimulus package.
    Of course, the money will go to the 'Octuplets Mom', so the government can support her and her 14 kids. Then she can spend the money from her book deals on more cosmetic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie.

    February 16, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. ANGIE-OH

    the gop old geezer group scared him.

    February 16, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Marie R

    He didn't arm twist the americam public your party arm twisted you.
    Your party as you did 4 years ago and 4 years before that are upset that you will not continue to send billions to Iraq and ignore the fact the americans will suffer in the end.....well it seems like that era is about to end now that President Obama is in office.You people have supprted Bush's policies for so long that you don't know whats right for the economy.Tax cuts for the wealthy , continue to let every barrel of oil that is drilled out of the american ground going that goes on the global market and letting countries like China outbid us?Take a look at what Exxon netted in the last year ..45 billion and guess what country gave them that net?. I can tell you it wasn't the United States but China.I feel for President Obama and YES if there are some hurdles that will be tough or he may not make because of the republicans it won't be that he didn't try.Your party seems to have all the answers for Obama now can you tell the american people where were the answers for the american people while this country was plummenting to the this economic disaster .Look guys it can't get worser only if he play your game and make the rich richer ,continue to spend billions in Iraq and allow ourselves to be dependent on foriegn oil so now we say .....THANKS BUT NO THANKS

    February 16, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Mike in FXBG

    Good for him... I would guess that this act of supreme insubordination will be listed under "the last act of great defiance". No more rides on AF-1 for this guy.

    February 16, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Freed_From_W

    The GOP: Where you can be 7 or 70 and still be a moron.

    February 16, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Paula

    Well what will you do for your constituents? That seems to be the big question. Republicans didn't fight for anything....ya'll just went to your corner and started whining about not being included, and the plan not being the right plan....... but you didn't seem to offer anything different. Most of your conversations seem to be about what someone else is doing wrong. So do you really have your constituents best interest at heart or your political career? Stop whining and....DO SOMETHING.

    February 16, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Ken from missouri

    Senator you belong in the congress , you said you LOOKED at this bill
    and determined that your district didn't need this bill well why didn't you read it or have your staff give you a report on it ?
    I will tell you the answer you voted no because your republican leader told you to and the party you belong to is more important than the people you represent c'mon just be honest or is that to tough.

    February 16, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. republicans hate america

    GOP = Grand Obstructionist Party

    February 16, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. HelloooOOOOO

    Bi partisianship didnt happen, because you didnt join the other 3 who DID want to co operate on writing this bill!!! Pres Obama even called McCain, and he refused to join the other 3 too ! way to go repubs, any one or all of you "could" have joined the 3 who did work bipartisian so why didnt you ? Now you repubs want to whine and cry it wasnt bi partisian ship because you wernt there to sit down and help draft this bill ? whose fault is that ? sure inst the democrats, who gave all of you the oppertunity to DO so ! I have yet to hear just exactly what the republicans stimulus bill "would be", so far all any one has heard is how the repubs would have done things differently..HOW ???? stop whining and TELL the public HOW your bill would have been different...details please !

    February 16, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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