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. SamSunny

    In other words, the GOP big boys got to him and told him how the cow eats the cabbage. Nuff said.

    February 15, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. gl, Pittsburgh

    It is sad that this young Republicans can not be his on man becasue he know deep down if he voted for President Obama plan is career would be over before it starts. He was talked to vote against it just like Gregg was.

    February 15, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Seen it all before

    This young man who did right by the people who elected him is a fine example for the rest of the sheep in congress.

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. sedinas

    We need more people in Congress like him, doing the right thing for people who voted for him.

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. TonyQ

    Even your constituents admit that the Republican party has no credibility on this issue, or any other for that matter. This petulant obstructionist show is transparent to everyone.

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. rickymo

    Schock is a schmuck! He listened to the parties elders, not his constituents. Pity.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. CLYDE

    Who cares what this 27 year old has to say. Wet behind the ears and years.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. anne

    Please, CNN, you are never going to get the right wing to stop watching Fox "Fraud" News; therefore, why not move back to the center where you have been because I will have to look to MSNBC solely for my cable news.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. rich

    Correction: His constituents are the radical right wing, and the Republican obstructionist in congress. So lets the record stand corrected.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Marv

    I dont believe this guy when he says he voted against the bill because the workers laid off at the caterpillar told him not to vote for it. The uaw supported obama. So i think he was telling a lie.

    February 15, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Where are the comments from the other side of the aisle? Obviously these blogs are a refelction of John King's three hour lovein with the Republicans today.

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. SoSaysSam

    Oh, Oh, I speak politicalese and can translate this for y'all...

    "But at the end of the day my responsibility is to the people who gave me this job – my constituents,” the 27-year-old Schock said.

    Translation... Rush wouldn't let him.

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. gl, Pittsburgh

    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. Yea, I betca!
    Sorry but your Repulicans co-leads. is would you are looking after.
    He may like President Obama, but not as much as he is scared of his on party doing something to him if he goes against his party. Party of the Taliban!

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. wonkguy

    Hey young buck,

    Listening to their "constituents" (by the founding fathers) is what got us the 3/5th clause instead of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Constitution. Show some intellectual and intestinal fortitude and do what's right for the country for once.

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Lou-Dallas

    ...way to go ,Schock...to bad there are 3 republican senators that don't quite measure up to your standards....and level of integrity...

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Eileen

    Hmmm...I find it kind of hard to believe that his constituents in Peoria (which is hemorraging jobs) wouldn't welcome the opportunity to have extended unemployment benefits and food stamps and additional job opportunities.

    Sounds like someone is just toeing the party line – you learn well grasshopper.

    February 15, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Luke Brown

    Obama needs to give up on these Republicans. They are making him look very naive, though he is making them look idiots. I say if these people say their constituents don't want the stimulus, don't waste it in their districts.

    February 15, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Steven McCarthy

    More like the GOP's top officials' witch hunt after any republican voting for the bill scared this freshman into line.

    February 15, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. Larry

    the Republican party has once again proven that they are NOT Country First!

    February 15, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. Pierre Podo

    There are two things CNN has to do. First is to get us the right news that matters ,and secondly to stop using Obama's name in vain and spotless comparism with every wrong statement from the GOP.

    What would it have matered if he wanted to vote yes or no? We all know that a freshman Congress member would not vote Yes alone , with all those angry GOP members who just lost their Presidency and the Lobbyist platforms in Washington sneezing on him? It takes a school boy reason ,to count his marks and go back to the classroom ,when he failed his exams because he did not attend classes.

    Lets read more about Bush and how he is spending his time on the ranch with his beautiful horses.Find out if the Pipe Line from Alaska would pass through his ranche? That will make news.
    Palin needs that.

    February 15, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Stay Active

    Again they march lock step. I really don't know how much bipartisanship there was in the initial writing of it, but everyone had a chance to edit it. Reading some of the plan I can understand the repulicans not wanting to vote for it. Not enough TAX cuts for them. Well, you can't give a tax cut to someone who does not have a job. I do hope that the investment portion of the bill will reach enough people to create or save their jobs. I am 50, my retirement is gone. I will work until I drop and I don't mind. I like the way President Obama is investing in our childrens future. It's better than the trillions that our last president and congress spent on the Iraq war.

    Give it a chance.

    February 15, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. PD

    Finally, someone from Illinois who isn't afraid to do the right thing. Thank you Rep. Schock for listening to the People.

    February 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Kevin, ABQ

    I'm not sure I understand why the Republicans are so concerned about "bipartisanship" all of a sudden. They've had absolutely zero interest in it for the last 8 years. Now, when they're in the minority, they start shrieking about Obama breaking his promises about bipartisanship. I think it's all political grandstanding and hypocrisy.

    February 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Georgia Gal

    Funny how all Democrats and 3 Republican senators thought it was in the best interest of their constituents. Funny how only Republicans (except for those 3) thought it wasn't in their best interest. What does tell me?? That Republicans are playing politics ... Republicans ... and nobody else.

    February 15, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Spencer

    There is no way this kid had the courage to break ranks with the Republicans. His career would have been over. And then to do all this posturing like he's frustrated with the 'non-bipatisan' approach, when in reality all he is doing is being partisan.

    The problem that needs changing is not so much the politicians, it is the parties they must cater to in order to get elected. People need the courage to waste more votes on independent candidates if we are ever to get of the mess that the 'Coke vs. Pepsi' politics of the Rebulicans and Democrats have gotten us into.

    February 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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