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. mk

    Tax cuts and spending are not stimulus? So besides the fact that he is lying because he was actually pressured by the GOP leadership to vote in lock-step with the rest of party, can someone please ask the Rep what a stimulus bill would actually look like in his mind, then?

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Minnesotan

    Obviously, Mr. Schock could care less about what's best for the country and Peoria. Maybe he can help his fellow GOP'ers to further increase the national debt, or perhaps start another war. Why do Republicans hate America?

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Ed

    One wrong start. One sad political ride for you Freshman. Hope you succeed to sophomore year because, frankly, i don't see that happening.

    February 15, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    The prefix "bi" means two. As in what it takes to tango. Obama offered bi-partisanship the GOP ( Greedy Obstuctionist Pin-heads) refused. My hope is than now that he has shown he is willing to put it on the line and get it done without them they may come around. If not some of the agenda will have to wait til 2010 when the Democrats will get even more Senators

    February 15, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Action

    I guess the Republicans don't think that adding more tax cuts than Obama wanted and cutting more programs than he wanted is compromise or negotiation.

    Maybe they don't recognize compromise because they never practiced it themselves when they had the majority.

    February 15, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. pepe

    Mr. Schock is a very courageous youg man. It's not easy to face down Obama's hate machine. To do so under withering press coverage is an act of defiance not lost on those of us who still believe in the America ideals of rugged idiviualism and ecoomic liberty. Bless you Mr. Congressman.

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Zac, Atlanta

    “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.”

    No, you all refused to communicate and stonewalled this bill any way you could. Only three Senators- Snowe, Collins, and Specter- actually stood up and did their jobs. The rest of you went on a media crusade bashing the bailout for the rest of us (after you literally gave away 700 billion to your friends on Wall Street with no questions asked, and not a single string attached).

    I hope you are proud of yourselves. Welcome to political oblivion.

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. jcow

    Thankfully a member of congress who actually does what his constituents ask and stands up for their principles. I'm tired of the liberal definition of "Bipartisan" being everyone falling lockstep behind Obama.

    February 15, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Michael

    Give me a break. He didn't want the GOP monster to ruin his young political career. This was not about his constituents. Peoria is getting crushed under the weight of the economy and he could care less.

    February 15, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Kit Shibley

    The GOP and everyone in our country needs to admit to and accept how desparate the state of our nation is.

    This is NOT the time for POLITICS AS USUAL. This is NOT the time to draw lines of separation of any sort. This IS the time to be SMART, PATIENT and work slowly TOGETHER AS ONE UNITED FORCE to work through the dreadful details, and pull ourselves out of this mess. We can and will have a bright and glorious future, as AMERICANS if we will stop drawing lines which lead to separation of ANY KIND.

    OBAMA must first address the FEAR and then the LACK OF TRUST that exists among our people. Simultaneously, tear down many ridiculous institutes and policies which DON'T WORK and truly have never worked or the masses.

    PLEASE – STOP THE LOUSY POLITICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND. We don't have time for that. Apparently the MEDIA thinks it's NEW WORTHY. WELL, IT ISN'T. IT'S BS and most Americans understand how really obsurd it is!!.

    Get this BUZZ going. STOP THE POLITICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND. Stop posturing for the NEXT ELECTION!! Use your might, intellect, influence and money to work for the people, for our country. We owe it to each other as humans and as AMERICANS.

    February 15, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Ben

    I highly doubt that this guy "listens to his constituents," unless constituents means Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Peachy Keen

    The bill passed...period. So obviously, this kid is in the minority. As far as the Republicans are concerned, they have this plan from now until 2012 to turn down any sign of bipartisan politics. What they will see in 2012 is that Americans are not stupid people. Sadly, the Republican campaign for President in 2012 began on Jan 20, 2009. There will never be any cooperation from them. They do not really care about the citizens they represent. It's all party, party party politics. Judd Gregg is a good example of the low lifes the Republicans are.

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. James Newman

    I am sorry to say that Obama is no better than the Clintons.
    Stupid, false, Democratic liars.l

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. pikerover

    I'm sure the Rebubs told the "freshman" congressman to vote against the bill if he wants a second term. The Prez seems to reach out to the Bubs but they are like little children, who when they don't get their way, stomp their feet and pout.

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. case

    Not a good idea to stimulate infastructure projects that will lead to equipment purchases for the people that used to work for Jon Deere in your home turf?

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Matt

    Lets just leave the Republicans behind on this one. I hope this stimulus package works tremendously well and makes the Republicans look like a bunch of a idiots, even though they already are in my opinion. Fiscal conservatism is a good principle when the economy is doing well but when the economy is in a downturn, it will only make it worse. Unfortunately, the cornerstone of the problem is the housing and banking sectors. Like Lindsey Graham said today, a Republican, he is even afraid that the only way out of this mess COULD be nationalization of the banks. If you conservatives want to tout fiscal conservatism then what in the hell happened the last 8 years? Where were you then? They were nothing but a rubber stamp on the biggest spending in US history, and they did not set a very good precedent. Now they want to play Mr. Fiscal Conservative at a time when these bogus games only hurt worse. Their solution to everything is "cut taxes." Im sick of it.

    February 15, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. lila

    He is too young to stand against the pack. The older republicans would have torn into him.The older republicans are out of touch. In the end, the freshman made a weak choice that will come back to bite him. Obama tried to give the guy a life line. Oh,well. What people need to understand is that Obama is a winner. Bin Laden has never been in more danger. I would not want Obama to have a target on my tail. Obama has grace and humility and is a honestly decent person. That does not take away from the fact that Obama sets goals and gets them done. I would bet on Obama.. even when the cards look down. Not to is... your loss. Obama is a winner.

    February 15, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Lisa

    You listened to the Repubs, not the people you represent. One term only. You will be out on your butt next time.

    February 15, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. ttofast70@comcast.net

    Horse crap.

    February 15, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Michae

    Congressman Schock did what he had to to, he followed his conscience. I disagree with him, as I'm sure the President does, but as good as it would have been for Congressman Schock to have voted with his President, his President would always tell a citizen legislator " to consider the facts then do what, then do what your heart and your head tells you is right."'

    I suspect a freshman Congressman is under enormous pressure from his Party which may well give him "talking points," but little if any intellectual freedom. Hang in there Aaron, you will have plenty of chances to stand with the President once you get your footing.

    February 15, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Joe in MN

    He's scared of McCain.

    February 15, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Alicia

    This is getting ridiculous. Like noone never said NO to Bush.

    So this means Obama DID reach across the isle. As I recall this happens all the time.

    What about doing an article on the TWO Republicans in his administration who say the Republicans are merely playing politics? This is getting so pathetic.

    When this cat's constituents make out on the stimulus...then what? I hope he gets voted out the next term. 15 minutes of fame.

    Where is this Republican's flag pin? Is he protested the Obama Presidency too. The Repubs quit wearing Flag pins on their lapels after the election.

    February 15, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Eric Swanson

    With all due deference to vindictive high school girls, Representative Schock and his fellow party members are exhibiting the worst sort of spiteful, adolescent behavior. One wonders what creative responses they'll come up with next? Bubble gum in the President's hair?

    February 15, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Know the facts

    Republicans wanted the trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy and a trillion dollar war of choice in Iraq, but now they're suddenly concerned about the budget? Right. This is purely politics. They gave Bush anything he wanted, and now they want to obstruct Obama.

    Republicans want our president to fail so badly that they're saying so publicly and even going as far as compare themselves with the insurgency of the Taliban! Yeah, that's EXACTLY what America needs - a Republican party that patterns itself after terrorists.

    February 15, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. Ron Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

    This kid is a real brown noser and probably would do anything to please his party.This is a prime example of how not to raise your kids.people.No heart and no soul no compassion for people.

    February 15, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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