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. Geo

    Good man.

    February 16, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Ken

    Just another budding lockstep Republican.

    “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.”

    What does this statement mean? Nothing. It certainly doesn't explain why this package doesn't help his constituency, which would stand to gain a lot from this. Well done Aaron Schock. If this is the next generation of Republican leaders, Democrats can rest easy, the public will let them know how they feel.

    February 16, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Pat-Pittsburgh

    How 'bout that a man with principles. Good for Aaron and good for his constituents!

    February 16, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. of course it's NOT for your ...

    millionaire constituents, bozo.

    but it's good for 99% of the people.

    that's why you're gonna be voted OUT in two years.

    February 16, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. TCM

    What's truly amazing about this article is the title. CNN says it's "ONLY," arm twisting in public.....well, where else to try to humiliate the young congressman, than to put him on the spot? Where else to try to sell a pork platter to people going through hard times, where you're saying it will help, but it won't....but in public? Obama shrewdly planned the public jabbing...all to promote himself as the savior, and to further his socialist agenda....Who cares if he tarnished the young man's career in the process? As long as ACORN gets it's money...right BArry?

    What he didn't count on was running into a proud young man with morals.....you see, "Morals," are like krptonite to OBama.....he doesn't quite know how to deal with honesty; something that's totally foreign to him.

    February 16, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Ken from VA

    Every economist this weekend has said the stimulus plan is what's needed. The only thing the Republicans can claim is they didn't have an opportunity to be a part. But yet three Republicans who were able to put aside their partisianship to be contributors to process did so.

    Junior, its hard for me to believe that if you talked to any constiuents that were unemployed, that they told you they would much rather have a tax cut than a job.

    Lets be real, the tax cuts may help those who are working but if you don't have a job what good is it going to do you? Do you really think an $800 family tax cut is going to cause someone to buy a car (maybe put gas in it), buy a new set of furniture? Every economist has said if people are not spending then the government is the only one that can.

    Junior, stop whinning an be a man. If you want to play ball get on the court and stop complaining that "Nobody picked me!"

    February 16, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Weli

    Who cares now??? Screw bipartisanship!

    February 16, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Eric, Texas

    You in trouble no fool. You don't say "no" to the O.

    February 16, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. CORY HARRIS

    WHO CARES IF THAT LITTLE WIMP TURN DOWN THE OFFER. ROOKIE JUST SIMPLY TRYING TO KISS-UP TO HIS PARTY. YOU WORK FOR THE PEOPLE AND NOT THE PARTY YOU WIMP.

    February 16, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. country first

    WHAT??? He rejected the Messiah's spendulous package???
    Off with his head!!!!! How dare he turn down the chance to be part of the "great one's" mission to bankrupt this great nation???

    Congratulations, sir. My hat is off to you. I wish there were more that shared your thoughts and actions. It's nice to see someone is still thinking clearly.

    February 16, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Eric

    I find it appalling that Republicans will vote without question for a huge debt if it involves spending in another country (e.g Iraq) but scream that we are incurring debt when we try to help our own people. Whatever happened to the surplus that Clinton had? It seems to me that the Republicans are the party of large government and big spending as well as the Dems. They just don't like helping folks unless they get something in return. I use to be a republican but not any more.

    February 16, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Dan from Kitchener

    Of course the proper thing for all Republicans in both the House and the Senate is to refuse any stimulus monies for the areas they represent and just take the tax cuts. Then of course they could have all the monies allotted for their respective areas taken off the total amount of dollars being spent.

    Doing this will give them credibility as they believe the package is too expensive and tax cuts are the answer so they will all be getting what they want and everyone will be happy.

    I would expect this to happen immediately if these people are being truthful and honest with the public.

    February 16, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Adam

    I'm glad someone in that state has the gull to stand up for what's right. Good job young man. You made the right choice not just for yourself but the people that elected you. Hope you continue to stand up for what is right.

    February 16, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. David

    Good for him. The fact that any Senator or House member passed this bill is disgusting for a couple of reasons:
    1. Almost half of it has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. It is long term goals of the left.
    2. NO ONE has had a chance to read the thing to find out everything in it. That alone should get every single one of them who are just blindly following Obama booted out of office.

    February 16, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Put an End to the Republican Reign Over the US

    These Republicans WILL NEVER be SATISFIED with ANYTHING. That's their nature. You can't get bi-partisinship IF YOU DON'T PARTICIPATE.
    The Republican 'agenda' is for President Obama to FAIL. Just as good ol' Rush Limbaugh stated.
    They WILL FIGHT EVERYTHING FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO RUIN THE PRESIDENT........AND IN TURN AMERICA

    Just watch and see.........and BE PREPARED FOR A LONG HARD RIDE.

    February 16, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Mary

    Good for Rep. Schock – that he knows what he's in Congress for – to do the will OF THE PEOPLE! Hope he stays that way!!

    February 16, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. fred

    wow, see, there are some smart 20-somethings out there other than myself. This stimulus plan will only drive us more in debt, creating more inflation, and passing the cost to our future generations. This will not create jobs, I'm sorry to say.

    February 16, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Nick the Photographer

    Aaron, you didn't listen to your constituents.... you listen to Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner. SNL had you Republicans pretty well pegged with this weeks opener.

    February 16, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. luvangel330

    Poor young thing, already tainted

    February 16, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Diane Panama City Fl

    Just another repudiated nay-sayer – I don't care how young or good-looking – he's just another punk that puts ideology over action.

    February 16, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. al in memphis

    ,” 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.”
    ______________________________________________________

    Why did we not hear these type of comments last year when the Bush tax rebates went out. In the republicans mind all you can do is cut taxes for rich and corporations and HOPE they decide to spend. After 8 years of tax cuts, how many jobs were lost at the end of Bush administration.
    Message to politicans– Its not about your party. Its about this country

    February 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. BW

    I hope this poor guy isn't removed from the United States for not doing what Obama believes is, "...the right thing for the people of Peoria". Now, let's see how the liberal comments attempt to destroy this young man because of his party affiliation...ignoring the fact that he IS an intelligent and refreshing CHANGE to Washington politics.

    February 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Dumas McGee

    hey CNN any reason you're not reporting that the fearmongering president rushed the stimulus vote only to wait 3 days to sign it?

    February 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Eric M

    This young man may have a very bright future ahead of him if he continues to stand his ground, and to articulate his positions so gracefully. Good on you, Senator Schock.

    Keep it up President Obama, you're giving important camera time to future leaders of the GOP.

    February 16, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Bev

    This was not a stimulus bill. It was "let's throw in every liberal wish list for the past 10 years and grab the money while we can" bill. This was a money-grab by liberals and it will affect our children for the next decade....that is....until a Republican gets back in office (which will happen) and brings things back under control. Obama and the Democrats have basically used a managable recession to their advantage to take advantage of the American people. Unfortunately, the news media is so biased he got away with it.

    February 16, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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