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. R Wolf

    Yes, the Republicans complain about the White House not reaching out across the isle, but it's really their party that has their heads in the ground. They want, so badly, to hold onto the failed policies that brought us into this mess in the first place. President Obama, and his administration, will bring back all the good things that America stands for with, or without, the interference of the fallen Republican party.

    February 15, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. John

    This young congressman is not supporting the stimulus bill over fear other republicans wont back them next election. They are scared. Its rediculous!

    We have spend hundreds of billions on Iraq.. oh, but thats ok to republicans! forget the USA, lets help the world first. thats their thinking.

    The republican party is a dieing party in my opinion. I ll be voting democratic next election for sure.

    February 15, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. 1fender

    Being from Aarons ligislative districk I had high hopes for this young man but I am disappointed he decided to drink the rethuglicans cool aid on his first chance to make a name for himself.

    Being recently out of a job I had hoped he would do the right thing and vote for jobs for his district folks. Instead he makes a lame excuse about no input for this historic bill.

    Obama gave these rethuglicans a heck of a lot more input than GWB ever did as he stole the treasury for his neocon friends, wall street CEOs and oil company friends.

    Aaron has done himself and the former district of Honest Abe wrong by not showing he is independent form the lame opposition who just voted along party lines.

    Maybe with time Aaron will grow a pair of his own, We are watching Aaron, please help us in your district!

    February 15, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. truth

    He listens to this constituents – Rush and Hanity.

    February 15, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. John

    I heard he is gay. Why are people talking about him?

    February 15, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Rushpublicans dragging down America

    "Why am I not "Shocked" by this story.

    Guess what CNN, the Rushthuglican party is becoming more irrelevant every day.

    February 15, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. JERRY

    HEY CNN! THERE IS NO STORY OR SURPRISE HERE.

    February 15, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. peter brody

    It is unbelievable that after 8 years of riding rouughshod over even the minutest of Democrat suggestions and inputs, they now have the effrontery of complaining about Obama;s"partisanship". Obama was elected to exterminate the Republican disease from the country which has caused us two terrible and unwinnable wars as well as plunging not just the US but the whole world into financial disaster. Now they want "bipartisanship" all of a sudden! They blew up the world – now we should politely listen to them? Have they no shame?

    The answer is: NO, they are shameless

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. lf

    Mr. Schock–We need more like you to think and listen to your constituents. Congratulations!! I'm sure at other times you may vote on measures or bills you may agree with Mr. Obama!!

    Illinois is fortunate to have you in Congress to represent them. Some good news from the "Land of Lincoln" is always welcomed compared to other times.

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. I. A. Frank

    Schock could have been an all-star and supported the President and the working people of America. Instead, he let himself be cowed down by the Mitch McConnell / John Boehner party that believes that all working Americans should be treated like Wal-Mart slaves while their elected representatives take bribes for shipping America's jobs overseas. Too bad Schock, you coulda been a contender. Instead, you took the fall for a cash payoff. And that's what's wrong with this country.

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. S Velsor IV

    His comment makes no sense nor does it justify his vote.

    February 15, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. dennisk

    Schock didn't listen to his constituents–he listened to the GOP party hacks, and fell right into lock-step with them. Glad to see he is one of the new champions of bipartisanship. Do these Republicans mean the same kind of bipartisanship we had for the last eight years? What a freaking joke.

    February 15, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. GERRY

    YOU KNOW WHAT – YES I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A COMMENT. WE NOW HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO WITH ALL HIS HEART WANTS TO GET THIS COUNTRY MOVING AGAIN IN ALL WAYS. AND WHAT DO WE HAVE SITTING UP IN THE CONGRESS – THE SAMEO CRAP THAT THESE GOONS HAVE DONE FOR YEARS. IT WAS OKAY TO SPEND ALL THAT MONEY AND STILL SPENDING, IN IRAQ FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – YET WHEN SOMEONE VERY QUALIFIED COMES IN THE PICTURE TO WORK THE CHANGE THAT IS SO DESPERATELY NEEDED, HE IS KNOCKED DOWN AND REFERRED TO AS SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
    PLEASE, PLEASE AMERICA – OMIT THE BAD ONES, FORGET THEY ARE EVEN THERE AND LET'S MOVE ON..........................

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Matt

    This kid is either going to go down in flames or becoming a rising star.

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

    Good for you, Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock! It sounds like President Obama tried to manipulate you and you didn't allow that to happen. Thank you for representing the people of Illinois and standing up for what you know is right for our country...
    President Obama said he was going to represent all the people in the U.S. but so far he has fallen very short of that promise. He is signing a bill that more that 50% of citizens disagree!

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Tom in ATL

    At least someone in congress actually listens to his/her constituents. Thank you for being a voice for the people, Gov. Schock.

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. gl, Pittsburgh

    If I was President Obama, I would stop extending my hand to the Replublicans becase the have one thing they want to accomplion and that is go against President Obama every move. President Obama go over broad to be bipartican and the Taliban Part reject the Presdient hand and then came President Obama really not trying to be bipartican. We, the people, see right though you evil Party of the white men.

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Steph

    Is anyone buying the GOP's story????

    We see the tax cuts all of you wanted in final version of this bill. If the Democrats didn't include your suggestions, there would be no tax cuts and all infrastructure, education and social service spending, like in the first house bill. Do these Republican Senators think we are idiots?!?!

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Joe Frank

    This kid voted against helping the people of Peoria get back on their feet. Can't wait till 2010 to remind the voters about that.

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Michele

    I would love to hear from folks in Illinois about this. Do they really not want this package and if so, exactly what should be added to help them? And what was their opinion of the first stimulus package that went out right before President Bush left office?

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Mark

    Schock will take a handout just to get some freebies and say to his family he rode with the president. But he is a rookie soldier like Lamborn from Colorado and they march according to the orders they receive. Some years down the road, they might think for themselves, well, Lamborn probably will not. I can't say about Schock. Schock will probably wind up being like most junior congressmen, always a junior. He claims to have receoved a 1,000 phone calls from Caterpillar employees telling him to vote against the stimulus. It's possible, but probably a gross exaggeration-B.S. is a better term.

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Marty

    Damn fool.

    February 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Angela in LA

    I just find it astonishing that these GOP 'leaders' are so flippant in turning down the President when he invites them to things that dont apply to policy.

    This plane ride...McCain turning down the President's Super Bowl party.

    NEVER has this type of distain occurred with a sitting president. Talk about disrespect, and childish behavior.

    Stop trying to make a 'statement' because your party didnt win.

    February 15, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    I would slit my own throat before voting against the President on the stimulus bill as it contains nothing malicious only things needed regardless of the timeframe. Congress should vote down things that would hurt our nation not that conflict only with their agendas. Arguably, the total amount is daunting as is the situation. The President is merely looking to the future and seized the opportunity to make progress which will ultimately prove worthwhile. Our economic situation is not for the weak minded nor the timid!!! Folks must

    February 15, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Arkansas Undertaker

    He is already off to a BAD start with the President. He is just like all the other Rethuglicans......and that aint saying much!

    February 15, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
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