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. Michael

    Born again bipartisan. I know what bipartisanship means. I know by the what the Republicans did during Bush's administration that they don't know what it means. When they first started to complain, they only alternatives they presented were tax cuts. They still don't give specifics about what they would have done differently. They just agreed not to help.

    The Republican ideas got us into this mess. Thank goodness Obama didn't compromise with the Republicans who had no new ideas and just wanted to complain.

    February 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Lu

    Okay, he was afraid to vote, so can they take the money that is slated for his district and give it to democratic district. I wouldn't want him to accept money from a program he doesn't support

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. donde

    So ultimately the Republican got his little feelings hurt by not being asked to the table. So for the Republicans their feelings are more important and not the future and well being of the American People. We need some better representation in Washington.

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Dave

    You have to love the Republicans – they run up massive deficits and ran roughshod over the Democrats, then pout over the stimulus plan and claim Obama is not being bi-partisan. I guess deficits are only bad when they are spent on our country. Why don't all of these hypocritical Republicans go to Iraq and run for government positions there, since they obviously care more about the Iraqi economy than the US economy!

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Soldier girl

    If these Republicans did not vote for the stimulus bill, their district should not receive one dime. They believe that this bill is bad, then the media should talk about their deceitfulness. However, I do not believe that the media like accountability.

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. rob

    "Ultimately, I was a sheep and went along with the rest of my flock"

    February 15, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    Enjoy your single term kid.

    February 15, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Jim

    It is both sad and humorous to hear the Republicans these days. Today John McCain says Pres. Obama is not playing bipartanisn politics...McCain who lost the election., Republicans and George Bush got us in this mess to begin with. Do they want us to forget history...this Ill. representative should wise up or he may be out of a job...then of course he might be for the stimulus...

    February 15, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. kevin

    Good for him, way to vote your for what he believes in.

    February 15, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Miracle

    Another example of Republicans determined to hold our government hostage until they get the power that they lost during the last 8 disastrous years back.

    February 15, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    We don't need you, little one.

    February 15, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Mitchell from MS

    HA HA HA! Good Man, at least he could see past BO's BS!

    February 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Joseph

    This guy, like many republicans, show their stupidity. When will people understand that unless we make government more efficient we will continue to bleed money and be in this mess. The housing fiasco may have brought many issues to the forefront, but wasteful spending on behalf of the Bush administration over the past eight years as well as lack of regulation are the real reason why we are in this mess. If you are not willing to spend the money to create the efficiencies that are needed then we will be forever blleding money. I believe Obama is on the right track. Make government, science, technology, and medicine more efficient as well as invest in our infrastructure and we will be saving trillions in the long run.

    February 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "Bi-partisanship" means both sides get listened to...something that never ever happened in the My Way or the Highway Bush administration. "Bi-partisanship" does NOT mean that both sides get to go 50-50 on a given bill, law or issue, particularly when one side (the Republicans) are responsible for the crisis that we now face. Elections really DO have consequences, and whether the Republicans like it or not, this is the first time in 8 years that they really do have to sit down and shut the hell up and let the grown-ups get some real work done.
    Aaron Schock was not listening to his constituants...Republicans don't give a rat's ass for their constituants...he was listening to his Republican Party Masters who told him "If you side with Obama, you're dead to us." He was merely marching in goose-step with his fellow Republican obstructionists, quietly (and sometimes loudly) praying for President Obama...and America...to fail. Heil Rush Limbaugh! With America's continued failure (put in place starting with Reagan and Bush I, continued with the best Republican President we ever had: Bill Clinton, and firmly cemented with Bush II, the Republicans will be able to scream "Look, we told you so!" (never mind that it was their undermining that caused the failure to continue). And then maybe they'll be able to regain their power...it's all they are really after in all this.

    February 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. alvino

    Schock is a rep from the caterpillar area. I wonder if he will get beyond the title of 'freshman', or if he will face the ire of the community.

    February 15, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. serah

    The president need to listen to the needs of
    Americans and try his level best to address them accordingly with or without the Republican support...........History is in the making and it will not be easy should the economy go well, for the republicans to convince the American people that they care deeply about them. The republicans care for the 5% Americans who have more than enough to feed Americans. The 5% are in fact drugging the economy by hoarding their cash any way. But one day it will be a bright sunny shining day and we all shall look back and appreciate president Obamas efforts towards recovery of American economy. There are several signs that things are going to okay. especially in the middle east, if the wars over there stop and our troops come back America will be fine. President Obama should not look at the few who let him down but look at the majority willing to work with him. The republicans have not recovered from the blow of loosing election and so they will try to make things hard for him any way.

    February 15, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Rick

    I'm glad someone else can see thru Obama's crap and smoke about the stimulus, I'll bet that within 2 years those demoncrates will raise or try to raise our taxes since they have already bankrupted our kids.

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Ron Riggs

    Wow....good for him standing up to the pressure from the president AND actually listening to his constituents! We need some good conservative leaders to take a stand.

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Simmy

    President Obama,

    Please move on. It is not worth your efforts. First the snitch Gregg, now this little pip-squeak. 2010 is not that far away. We'll take our battle to the polls.

    February 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. ray

    these republicans are are clowns, especially this moron. talk working together, what a waste of time. all republicans should burn in hell and i hope that is soon, these people are obstructionist and they are the worst terrorist they have.

    February 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. Debra Pulaski

    I was under the impression that the Republicans had a say with what was in this bill also. A lot was taken out and more tax cuts were put in because of them. Did Rep. Schock miss out or is he not informed about this. Of course Rebublican Party is really not a fan of bipartisanship. aka the last eight years, Debbie, pa

    February 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Chicago Red

    The Repubs made a pack not to support you no matter what young or old.....leave them alone they will come home wagging their tails behind them

    February 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    Well, it was wrong of Presdient Obama to put you on the spot like that.
    That would make most people uncomfortable.
    Truth be told, he knows it..you know it, all the politicans know it and corporate leaders know it...unless this country heeds God's prophtic warnings to get straight with him..nothing will change, in fact it will worsen (see quakes, famine, winds, floods, fire, diseases). Does that mean this is pessimistic..not really...it means that Judgement comes on those who mock God...he will not be mocked. He's not an illusion, he existed a long long time before any idea of a big bang came along, he is all powerful.
    God is grieving right now.....remember grief has several stages...this is just the beginning

    February 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. virginia for obama

    Obama! . . . Please leave the Rethugs alone and lets move on to better things.

    February 15, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. ari

    sorry
    Rush limblah says obama should fail

    February 15, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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