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. Bridgette-PA

    Who cares CNN. The bill passed anyways.

    February 15, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Jason

    If Aaron Schock really told the truth, he would have said, "I dont care about the people of Peoria, I just do what the corrupt right wing nuts of my party tell me to do."

    February 15, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Craig in Williams, AZ

    My heart bleeds for the republicans who want to stomp their feet, throw a tantrum, take their ball and go home. All the nonsense about not having time to read the stimulus package. It has changed little from the time it was introduced, just some numbers lowered here, a plan cut there (whoopie) Get over it boys and girls, fall in line and help the country out of YOUR mess!

    The president needs your help, NOT your blather.

    February 15, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. luis

    Good for Mr. Schock, he should not bow under oressure but do the work he was ELECTED by his distrisct to do, represent them. The majority of congress forgets they are were they are becasue we elected them to work for us. From Pelosi to reid the arogance is astounding. I hope that in 2 to 4 years the people will remember that this was a DEMOCRATIC piece of legislation and was not bipartisan. I think the Democrats will be running as far away as possible from this piece of garbage.

    February 15, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. William

    So many stupid "editiorials" on so many other threads... CNN, taking a rather supine role in reporting facts during the Bush criminal empire years appears rather terse in it's position while running stories on Barack Obama. Well, no surprise here considereing CNN and most other media "news outlets" have adapted the FOX news paradigm! How many more stories can you drum up on the plane crash CNN? I can't believe it's time to let those unfortunate people rest in peace yet!

    February 15, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. Working Class

    I can't believe how Congress decides it is okay to bailout the big banks, Corporations & multi million dollar salary CEO's, spend $10 billion a month on the war in Iraq, but could care less about the hard working American people. Typical Congress. They don't have to worry about losing their homes, healthcare that the American public pay for & know they are financially set for the rest of their lives. They don't know what it means to struggle neither do they care. They have their pockets full so the heck with the majority of the Country. I hope the Country wakes up & takes names. I would rather my tax dollars to go to help John & Mar the hardworker than these greedy financial institutions and Corporations. Every American should be fed up and mad as hell.

    February 15, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Marty

    This is not news

    February 15, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. Greg from Peoria

    I'm a constituent. I wish he'd voted for the package but apparently he and 176 Republican intellectual clones managed to place the 2010 House elections in the forefront instead. About a year down the road as the world economy continues to struggle as it must from the damage done to it by the deregulated banking, lending and investment industries, these clucks will be campaigning on the 'I didn't vote for it!" platform. God forbid we patiently and persistently move our country toward recovery instead of playing politics. Hey, rocket scientists, it was going to pass whether or not you admitted the need or benefit of it. So instead, play the time game, listen to Rush and Sean for the sound of the drumbeat, and take the rest of us back to the economic Stone Age the next time you're in the majority. Idiots.

    February 15, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. demo in PA

    All obama does is fly here
    then fly there
    he is going to sell us out
    to the mexicans wait an see

    February 15, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Hope

    Good job Schock. The Dems said that the republicans are trying to use scare tactics. Do they have selective hearing? Obama came out and said that if the stimulus is not passed it could be disastrous.

    The media said that Palin did not have the experience necessary to be in charge during the election. It is only now that the media admits Obama has a serious learning cuve ahead of him.

    Why is everyone so hateful toward the republican party? Yeah they screwed up, but so have the democrats. Speak against your own foolish party members. Or are you all homers?????

    February 15, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. DeadGuy

    Well Done, young man!!!!

    February 15, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. Pam

    Well, the idea Aaron was to give you an opportunity to be your own man but instead, you decided to vote against the people of this nation. You have to do what is best for the country not the party. Let me give you a news break Aaron. THIS COUNTRY IS IN A DEEP RECESSION AND THERE ARE MILLIONS OUT OF WORK!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. Dave

    I think it is a sad day when our elected official are look for what is in the best interest of their "my constituents" rather than what is the right thing to do for the people, economy, and our nation. Lets put all petty differences aside and do the right thing. I don't know about anyone else but I am tired of hearing about party lines and bipartisanship.

    February 15, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Beachy

    Smart guy! This guy will go far.

    This is anything BUT a stimulus bill and Obama and his fellow partners in fraud will go down because of it.

    February 15, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Bonnid

    What a sad state of affairs GOP senators and other republicans are. They persist in negativity. I am tired of the media ready to beat up Obama before they give him a chance. Apparently it is the nature of mankind to do this. What a sad world we live in.

    February 15, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. catmom

    So sad, freshman in Congress and can't think for himself. Follow the lead of the do nothing Republicans. Wonder what he will be saying when the plan begins to work. Oh well so much for reaching out to the President. I hope Mr. Schock finds its worth it.

    February 15, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. Mike in VA

    Ah yes, here's a young articulate, intellegent politician that actually stands up for the people! Rep. Schock sees through this Trillion-Dollar-We're-All-Going-To-Die-Unless-The-Government-Pays-Off-Liberal-Interest-Groups Act.

    February 15, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. flo

    i dont know why republicans dont realize they arent important anymore.

    February 15, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Robert Puget Sound, WA

    WHY is it, we the People, get a bowl of watery gruel, while NYC's crooked bankers, Greenwich Hedge Fund pirates and Boston's thieving mutual fund owners get beluga caviar, wild scottish salmon, Prime Steaks, fine Bordeaux wines and French champagne, chocolate truffles, and Baked Alaska? THAT is exactly what this vulgar, disgusting POLITICAL bail out is ALL about....taking even more from working people and giving it back to the thugs and goons who STOLE it to begin with. TWO election cycles (2010 and 2012) gives us the only opportunity to show our.....'appreciation' to the thugs like Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, LIEberman, Baucus and hundreds more, UP for re-election.

    February 15, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Cory

    Good man!

    February 15, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Jeb

    Have fun climbing the ranks in a party that will be extinct in 20 years.

    February 15, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. bunnypink

    why is OBAMA listening to these losers? Just roll over 'em like Rove did in Bushie White House who care? Repubs got us into this mess with trickle down economics and all they can do is whine like the babies they are. GO BARACK forget the whiney babies and just do you dont ask them anything and vote some more of them out of office

    February 15, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. Xavier

    I guess all republicans are taking the do nothings approach. What a bunch of losers. After the mess they made in the last eight years I wouldnt trust a republican to even clean my toilet.

    February 15, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Xavier

    I guess all republicans are taking the do nothings approach. What a bunch of losers.

    February 15, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. EJ in metro Houston

    if anybody REALLY thought this guy would vote against his party, even if he DID agree with the bill, then I got some swamp land here in Houston to sell you. They probably already told him how he was voting and what to say if he was asked. I'm sure he wants to keep friends or make some with the right wing side of his party so no way can he call himself a MAVERICK yet. This is really a non-story CNN.

    February 15, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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