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. katiec

    You run headlines about a republican politician for days but do not post the comments about him.
    Typical CNN.
    Read where MSNBC.com has outranked you in popularity for months. This is one of the reasons, your censorship.. There is no freedom of speech where CNN is concerned. You are becoming as bad as Fox,
    The only difference is Fox does not try to fool us into believing they have integrity.

    February 16, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Joann

    could someone please explain to me "What part of this do the Republicans not understand" After 8 years look at where this country is!

    February 16, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Mark

    The bill will prove to be worthless over time. The American sheep just have to be seeing the fallout verses preventing.

    February 16, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. steve

    Because he's a d-bag?

    February 16, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Sandra Kohler

    One of the things Senator McCain said needs to be corrected. I was able to read and print a breakdown of the stimulus package down on the internet. He implied that the President had misled the people on this. Senator MCCain is a mean and sad man who has lost the race for the office he has ran for three times. Now he will continue to defame politely the character of the man who cost him the race for the final time that he had to run. The war hero has no personal honor.

    February 16, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. John

    No House republicans are voting for the Bill. As a Democrat, I think this is fine. I think we will see who is right in the next few years. Tax cuts to the rich are not a good stimulus when they will just invest that money overseas or hoard it, although Bush tried that in 2001 to the tune of 1.4 trillion dollars.

    I believe Republicans are fundamentally wrong on this issue and I welcome them to publicly sign their names away from it to finally prove who is right.

    February 16, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Diane

    Evidently he took at face value what he thought was the good of the country. Per John Boehner, no one took the time to read the Plan so how in good faith can Schock vote "NO". Once again, sounding like a bad record, if the Republicans keep digging their heels in and say NO to all proposed by the Democrats, the American people will find a way to say "OUT WITH ALL OF YOU." This grieves me great. We vote the people into office to look out for us which means vote on what is good for the country. If it's not to your liking, offer up something that is. This should not take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    February 16, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Robert

    Representative Schock, I commend you on your decision. For 38 years, I was considered myself a Democrat. Over the last year though, many times, I found myself leaning Republican because of dissatisfaction with my party. I honestly believe you are making decisions with the best interest of the people in mind. We definitely need more people like you in Washington. From a new addition to the Republican party in Texas, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    February 16, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Steven Thomas

    “Bipartisanship is not one party writes the bill and we all vote for it....” Schock told King.

    Funny, this is exactly what the GOP has been passing off as bipartisanship for the last 14 years under the Bush administration and the Gingrinch leadership prior to that.

    The hypocrisy of the Republicans is as boundless and shameless.

    February 16, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Pissed off voter

    Don't settle into your office too well there buddy. You'll be heading home just as fast as you got there once the voters get their say.

    February 16, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. TCM

    This PUBLIC INTIMIDATION ATTEMPT shows what type of thug OBama really is....I'm glad that Schock stood his ground; he totally makes Obama look so inexperienced and unprofessional....

    couple that with Obama's definition of Air Force one....."Spiffy ride," Shows that the ilbs have elected a guy that's truly "dumbing down," American...
    Heard of "No child left behind?" Well, he's going to cause us to be an "Entire Nation left behind." The media's slowly turning because, after all, their TRUE first love, is a hot scoop. Now, that the election's over, they'll turn on Obama, and rightfully so. We need a leader, not a coverboy. So, MSM, you helped put him their, start digging and printed the truth you've passed over during the election...you could save the country.

    February 16, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. Tulsa L

    OK for all the Republicans that didn't support this stimulus bill, they all think this is wasteful spending then they should do as South Carolina Govenor said he would REFUSE this money........every state that is represented by a REPUBLICAN should not receive this money, give it to the three States of the three Republicans that did vote for it and to all the other states that their Representives supported it......I think that would end their careers real quick........but you know what they won't refuse this money even though they didn't vote for it. They either refuse this money or shut your mouth and quite complaining......

    February 16, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. JR in Texas

    At least someone is standing on his principles, I can't say the President has, bi-partisanship and transparency.........what a joke. I thought maybe, just maybe this President would be "change" he spoke of, if anything he is worse than Bush on this stance.

    February 16, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Bruce

    Two honorable men have a gentlemen's disagreement over policies about which they have differing opinions. They both treat the situation with respect and regard for each other, and will both continue to operate under valid convictions.

    I really dread all the hate posts that will be posted by small-minded people berating either of these people.

    I hope my post will be accepted by the moderator to show that there are some of us, at least, who understand that public servants can disagree and still respect each other.

    February 16, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. OBAMA2012

    CNN is starting to spill out G.O.P talking points in the news. we need to build America not bash the President. I am getting tired of it

    February 16, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. USA LOVER

    Falling in line already kid????

    You're gonna fit in juuuust fine in your party.

    February 16, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Belle

    As a Democrat, I am actually grateful most Republicans voted against the bill. However, I am still in shock over what I perceived to be "change" I can believe in. Not one message of "hope" but a lot about fear...which only drives the economy lower.

    This bill should have addressed the "root" of the problem...the housing market. Now we can expect housing to extend into construction, and even more failures no matter how much money you toss at it.

    Thank you Mr. President.

    February 16, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. VoterinOhio

    Finally, somebody with some backbone to stand up to Obama when he tries to schmooze them.

    February 16, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Mike

    Considering what your fellow Republicans did to this nation for the last eight years (six completely controlled by them) the least you could have done was give the bill a chance even if it won't work. I know neither the Republicans nor the Democrats give a damn about the American people, and only your CEO and banker friends, but at least try to fake that you care.

    February 16, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Tina

    Oh but Aaron if you would have really listened to your constituents you would have voted for the stimulus plan. You were elected because you were a young fresh face but so far you've proven to be more of the same tired Republican tactics. I'm sure your constituents who lose their jobs at CAT will remember that in 2 years.

    February 16, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. KLK

    The constituents of those who don't vote for the stimulus shouldn't benefit from the outcome!!!

    February 16, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Kaci

    I'm not a fan of Begala's, but his commentary is on the mark. Those GOP leaders (and I use this term loosely) who were so vehemently opposed to the stimulus should refuse the money coming to their state. That'll show that President Obama!! McCain and Co. should ALL refuse the funds. that way they can show the white house that they can get the economy going in their own states by the might of their will. Since in Texas we have two Republican senators who both voted against the stimulus, don't send any money here either. When will these "elected" officials realize they don't work for themselves, they work for us. Politics will kill this great experiment we call a democracy! For sure!

    February 16, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. MICK in MESA

    Schock to repug leaders: Baa Baa! Anything you say boss...

    February 16, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Obama 2.0

    The GOP is being less than truthful, the bill has been on the Library of Congress website since about Jan 26th. I read it over the weekend it is not that bad and actually has more stop gaps than any money spent to date, including all the money spent during WWII. Just read people, unless you are one of the McCain Kool-aid drinkers that just wants to run with what you hear.

    February 16, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. IN OBAMA CAMP:

    well his party has already talked him into believeing what they beleive so what do you expect, know one knows whether this stimulus package will work or not you haven't given it a chance, everything else they have tried the GOP haven't , so give this a chance it just might, If they were so smart why when they had control, they never came up with anything that did, look where we are now because of them, and Rush Limbbard need to shut up he may learn a thing or too..

    E E.
    Greensboro NC

    February 16, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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