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. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    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.

    Then do the brave thing for all us unbelievers! We NEED a leader with courage; step up to the plate and get your governor to REFUSE the money. Have you constituents to vote NOT to accept it. Put YOUR money where your mouth is than we will BELIEVE!

    February 16, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Liberty

    Hooray as there is still someone with common sense left in the government (including Tom Price also). They should have elected this guy president. The government can't run anything right. If I live until 85 yrs old I get back 40 percent of what I pay in to social security. That is a 60 percent loss. Heck I only lost half that in recent market crash and the government wants to increase their control over private industry. Nationalization never works Go look up the country of Myanmar nationalization result.

    February 16, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Doug, New Jersey

    Wow, an Illinois politician who is honest, cares about the American people, and believes in the constitution, it truly is a miracle that he got elected.

    With an overwhelming majority of people who have Blagovich/Obama values, he is going to have to do something very Democratic to get re-elected. I'm not sure if just not paying his taxes will be liberal enough.

    How will he explain that he is too honest and decent to go along with Obama's evil anti-American plans to redistribute the wealth of hard working Americans to the lazy, hateful, angry entitlement class? Ill-libs will need to see more hate and dishonesty from him to feel that he is truly one of them.

    February 16, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. jon

    This freshman Republican had no choice but to toe the party line. What was he supposed to do? Go against their ideological beliefs? That's suicide where he comes from. A lot of republican congressmen and women really wanted the bill to go through but couldn't vote for it. Their party is more important than the country right now and they'll do anything to find a message that sticks. To them, anything that contradicts Pres. Obama's plan is good. A lot of them secretly wish they weren't in this position, but they will derail and destroy as much as they can before realizing that that strategy isn't working for them.

    February 16, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. timothy

    Lets see a 27 year old a freshman who is still new at this what does he possibly know about the economy and the stimulus bill? Ans: arm twisted by the stalemate republican party; he's certainly has his work cut out for him when you try to march in step with the big boys who knows Washington, he'll eventually get burned.

    February 16, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Dave

    This goes to show that Republicans would rather stick together and be obstructionists than get real things done that help real Americans. I can't stand that sophomoric pack mentality that Republicans have – or should I say "PAC" mentality?? Where was their outrage with Bush? What a bunch of Hypocrites!

    February 16, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Jessy from Florida

    The main reason the Stimulis bill is looking shakey is because the Democrats are bickering, and the Republicans are not helping Obama (neither are the democrats) while he is trying to mend fences with them. How is a leader expected to function if the people of around him don't want to help him get it done?

    I understand the reluctance of the Republicans to vote for the bill because the Democrats are putting in things that won't help the economy. However, if the Republicans are not going to help make it better, then what use do they serve in our government? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    Therefore, in my opinion, and I am speaking as a fellow Republican, Barack Obama has to push through and push it hard through both the Democratic bickering and the Republican laziness. I believe in Obama and how he can handle things. What I can't believe is that members of his own party are not listening to him and the Republicans are doing nothing to help make the stimulis better.

    February 16, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. Jen, OH

    I don't like Aaron.

    Obama 2012

    February 16, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. Jen

    My question to Rep. Aaron Schock is Why did you accepted President Obama's invitation to board Air Force One? He had no intention of supporting our President and voting in favor of the Stimulus Package. Then, why bother accept this invitation. Rep. Aaron Schock is an opportunist like many other politicians in Washington pretending to support President Obama. I find that quite Fascinating.

    February 16, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Adam

    Why lead in to this article with "Ticker: 27-year-old turns down Obama's plea"? What does his age have to do with it? Also, the article itself doesn't even mention Rep. Schock's age.

    February 16, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Pepou

    Get a life Schock !

    February 16, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. carmela

    Republicans are like manipulative misbehaving kids with ADHD that keeps on whining when they didn't get what they want. While President Obama is like a well-rounded, patient professional sped teacher that keeps reaching out, encouraging and motivating them. And just like misbehaving, manipulative kids, these republicans need a serious time out.

    February 16, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. mb

    You really would have thought that a young mind would have had better sense. Maybe he is not old enough to be in the position he is in.
    Glad I am not in his district, I would definitely be working the phones.

    February 16, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Kathy in Michigan

    Some members of the GOP are sore loosers and it looks really imature.

    Voters in November stated CLEARLY what they wanted. The majority voted for President Barack Obama. I think there is a deep seeded lack of respect for him because of his race and age and they GOP has to get over it. Look at the photos of the F=RNC Convention. There convention was "whiter" than any RNC Convention since the Voting Rights Act was passed. What does that tell you. They do not speak to or represent minorities. The "conservative" movement is so rigid, that it only fits a minority of the country and it is going to get smaller and smaller.

    February 16, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Bethie

    Oh, Schock decided to toe the party line. What a Schock.

    February 16, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. niki belic

    first

    February 16, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. alvino

    According to Schock, the caterpillar employees told him not to vote for the bill, even though it would mean caterpillar would benefit by building machinery.

    The UAW may be their own worst enemy.

    February 16, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Willy Brown

    Smart man. Don't let Mr. Charm fool you. He's all window dressing anyway.

    February 16, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Robert the Man

    Lets see how many, "he's a racist", posts we get on this one.

    Please show me your ignorance

    February 16, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Sissy2004

    "Not in the best interest of his constituents?" Sounds like a true Repug. Forget about the best interest of the American people. He just wants to be popular with his party. Another sad sign for America when our young people start off thinking about "them" and not the majority.

    February 16, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Proud American

    To watch OBama try to intimidate and "harass," this young man in front of his supporters, truly shows the lack of refinement and class OBama has as an individual. It was his typical plow of mentioning it, intimidating, and then playing the victim...all in status quo liberal fashion. I have 10x the respect for Schock than Obama; he already discussed this with his constituents; and is actually listening to and voting they way they desire...how novel! To elect someone that will actually represent the people!

    This latest caper of Obama's long with his tactic of coercing the 3 RINOS, and blatant misuse of government money by flying in the demcrat for the last vote...shows he's truly not a man of his word.

    Aaron Schock – stay true to your beliefs, listen to your people, and stay away from that corrupt individual...and his cronies.

    February 16, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. Mike

    Did this guy really say the following? "“It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.” He says right here that the majority of money goes toward stimulating the economy! The Republicans are so messed up. If just one of them could acknowledge any responsibility for what has happened in the last 8 years, they might have some credibility. Right now they are just the biggest joke on TV.

    February 16, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. J

    Thumbs up to you Rep Schock!

    February 16, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Elizabeth

    Representative Schock.....I wish you were my representative in my home state of Washington. I write my representatives on a regular basis, but to very little avail. Neither of them represent the things I stand for and I admire your willingness to stand up for what is right. For all the money in this bill, there are actually very few little people who will benefit. It's like a big luau with a LOT of pork!

    Stay true to your constituents and they will stay true to you.

    February 16, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Terry in NY

    Good for him. The people should speak louder on this spending spree. We can't afford to wait for the trickle down in this package to stimulate our ecomnoy. It will take years if not decades to see any benefit. The is the biggest example of pet project and pork spending to ever hit our nation, with no tangible benefit!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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