February 16th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
8 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. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    This guy should be commended for not allowing his youthful optimism be overpowered by tradiitonal partisan pork and the President's prized popularity in passing this exorbitant "stimulus".

    February 15, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. texasgreenacres

    maybe he'll get a better understanding after the next election, when he's wishing he had won, but dang it he lost!

    February 15, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Proud American

    Typical republican Idiot. Even the young ones never learn.

    February 15, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. Alexis

    Oh, spare me.

    Schock is a 27 year old congressman? There's no way on this planet that he could have gotten the money for campaigning, unless he was fully funded by big corporations, e.g. Caterpillar. And Shock is an ARISTOCRAT! He was born into Big Corporate world, and now he's working for them and them only. Republican legislators being funded by big corporations are LIVID that this bill passed., and that's a good sign. That means that the stimulus package is made for the middle class. Slander is Republicans' way of doing things. But their diabolic ways did not win them the election, and it will not win them anything else down the road.

    February 15, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. Hg Flow

    DCCC: take this guy in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Ritch

    Politics are back after just a few days...

    Obama can give up working with Republicans because it will never happen. The Republicans basically got what they wanted when they were the majority and drove this nation into the ditch. Now, they are being obstructionists. This party is an embarassment. Keep it up Republicans and you can be on the wrong side of American history yet again. Keep listening to the Christian Right, Rush Limbaugh and the neo-con fearmongers...it can only lead to the loss of most Congressional seats and then we can get this country going in the right direction again...

    Obama made a mistake trying to placate the Republicans with yet more tax cuts....he needs to stop trying to be all things to all people. Forget the Republicans and push through what the people want.

    February 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Coherent1

    Aaron Schock, you could be telling the truth and nothing but. But, because your compadres' have been so wicked in promoting their evil agenda, I have to include you as the newest and youngest liar of the bunch. To me your another political ploy, just like the Steele guy. We've seen the same old faces telling us the same old lies for so long, that they actually think if you tell the same old lie, we would somehow believe them. No. It's over. Behave like men and women, act like you care about America, get into the flow of the new direction of bipartisanship, or kiss your new career goodbye!

    February 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. HouseDiva

    we all know why he turned down Obama, it's because he's the GOP's mind controlled boy toy.....May he fester in hell with the rest of the republican trash...as if Obama needed him anyway(eyes rolling)

    February 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Seattle Sue

    He is hanging with the rest of the Republicans. Me first gang!

    February 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Subu

    Not that this will get past moderation, but... Most of the money in the stimulus bill goes toward tax breaks, which, we saw last year, will be used for savings or (more likely) paying off debt. That's what Republican Congressmen want – more tax cuts that will NOT be spent. And they have the gall to say the stimulus package will not be stimulative!
    So... Schock didn't vote for the bill because the bill was not written by Republicans and Democrats? Maybe he should have decided based on what was best for the country... Oh well.

    February 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |


    February 15, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Dante in Madison, WI

    Aaron "Do Nothing And Everything Will Get Better" Schock.

    He's no different than the old guard Republicans still leeching off of the American citizens.

    February 15, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Larry from RI

    I guess Rush Limpballs, Sean Handityjob and the boner are your "constituents" huh?

    Why don't you go visit that Caterpillar plant and explain what your plan is to save any of the 20,00 jobs they are losing?

    Chirp, Chirp, Chirp......

    Better visit in an armored car you vile little GOP toadling!

    February 15, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. Ivan

    Aaron Schock has now joined the Republican lock step of saying no. When the economy shows improvement before the next election, it will be bye, bye Schock.

    February 15, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. DC Young

    Horray for the Peoria Hometown guy!

    He stood his ground in school!
    He stood his ground in the State Legislature.
    How he is proving he can stand his ground when on the shifty sands of the Beltway.

    I appreciate a person that actually represents his constituents and not his own agenda.

    DC Young (former long time Peorian)

    February 15, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Blatherskite

    So, if your constituents and you are so against the bill, you should show the depth of your republican committment and refuse to accept any of it for your congressional district. That would be a real meaningful demonstration of sticking to your principles and your philosophical disdain for the stimulus package. I am sure your constituents would agree and be happy to refuse any of the dollars or assistance.

    If not, then you all are merely hypocritical, trash talking spineless poseurs.

    February 15, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. David

    Another payed off politican. listened to his people right...........he listens to those who have the big paychecks

    February 15, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Saama

    The honourable congressman, Rep Schock did certainly vote against the welfare of his constituency and I believe they will one day hold him accountable. I believe the honourable Rep. voted out of peer pressure.

    February 15, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Sally

    I imagine there was some arm twisting bigtime from the Republicans to keep the Congressman on track . They intend to fight Obama in everyting he tries to do. What a sorry bunch...first, they run the country into a ditch and then refuse to help the president get it out. They want him to fail...that is their whole goal.

    February 15, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. lanray

    Good for Rep. Schock ! Our egotistical Messiah can't win them all.

    February 15, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  21. Lance in PA

    Realistically, I think the US and probably the world in general is at the beginning of a substantial economic contraction. The general mood of disdain towards capitalist principles, paired with increased government spending, will strengthen the contraction and prolong it. I've already sold my second car and moved into a smaller house and cut back drastically on my spending, and I think many Americans are doing the same.

    February 15, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. Econ 101

    Another obstructionist. Its appalling.

    February 15, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. JPM

    So his district would be happy to be cut out of any money then? Maybe that's what should happen, all those who voted "no" should see their districts cut off from any funds...and then see what the people in their districts will think about it!

    February 15, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. Brian

    I looked around the internet and I have not seen any evidence or for that matter first hand statements that say he is lying when he said of all the CAT employees at the rally not one told him to support this thing. Of course there is plenty that claim he is lying, but none share any facts...of course. Good job Mr. Schock

    February 15, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. Chipster

    Say what?

    “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. “

    Is that the way it worked for the past 8 years? I don't think so. Democrats only had the weakest of majorities in the last 2 years and certainly couldn't override a presidential veto. Republicans voted lock-step against anything Democrats attempted. Any sort of cooperation will probably take replacing a lot of the radical right-wing with some moderate Republicans. They own the $4 trillion deficit piled up for the last 8 years that got us into this hole. Now they sudden discovered "oversight?" Good grief!

    February 15, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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