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. bajashark

    Who is he trying to fool? He got marching orders from his party and is blindly obeying them...Are you telling me that every Republican in congress had concluded the same exact thing? Give me a break!

    February 15, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. aby

    Thank God there are some Senators out there with a backbone.
    THANK YOU Senator Schock. This 'spendulous' bill is a Democrat pet project spending wish list.... and you are a credit to the people of the United States.

    February 15, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  3. Raymond E. Watson, Jr

    This comment on are twisting is not the basic truth. On the day that the Stimulus Bill was to be voted on in the House, the constituents from the most populous city in the district called is his office until the vote. There were some in the office that took the information and stated the congressman was not going to vote for the package. Eventhough the package had the needed money for Head Start. This statement is disingeneous because this freshman rep voted the party line.

    February 15, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. Steven

    What is really sad about Rep. Aaron Schock comments on CNN are a couple of things
    1. They are inaccurate. TRep. Aaron Schock specifically stated that only 8% of the stimulus package was devoted to infrastructure. The Chicago Tribune on Sunday Feb 15 states that 91.7 billion of 787 billion package are devoted to 'Infrastructure' That really is 11.6% and not 8%. To make matters worse, there is 19 billion for heath information technology which could also be considered infrastructure. If one reads through the list, there are a number of other items that could readily be considered infrastructure.

    2. There is an old saying that says "When you need a plumber, you call a plumber" With all due respect to the folks at the Caterpillar plant in Rep Schock's constituency, I have to ask what their qualifications are to comment on economic issues that are extraordinarily complex and for which they don't really have qualification to make an intelligent decision as to what is good or bad for the over all economy.

    3. And lastly, the only proposal I heard from the GOP was 'tax cuts' Well, one should look at the list of items under the $281 billion in tax cuts. I am not sure I can 'see' a relationship between those 'tax cuts' and infrastructure.

    Finally, I really wish the media would challenge the statements of individuals (on both sides of the political spectrum) to substantiate their statements with facts. This would require more than a sound bite, or if all one can present is a sound bite, then you don't present it. This sort of reporting is confusing and frankly totally fails to represent the truth. And I suspect that CNN will not allow this note to be visible.

    I am one of those citizens that is fed up with the political/media system of misrepresentation of the information and allows individuals misrepresent the facts in a politically driven process.

    3. Even

    February 15, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. KenneyP

    And on CNN's "State of the Union," Gibbs said, "I think what you saw from this president was an unprecedented effort to reach out to Republicans. Not just in meetings at the White House, but you had the president drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans where they work."

    McCain fired back. "Look, I appreciate the fact that the president came over and talked to Republicans," he said. "That's not how you negotiate a result. You sit down together in a room with competing proposals. Almost all of our proposals went down on a party-line vote."

    When the next major piece of legislation aimed at helping the economy recover reaches Congress, McCain said that he hopes "we will sit down together and conduct truly bipartisan negotiations. This was not a bipartisan bill."

    McCain added, "Republicans were guilty of this kind of behavior. I'm not saying that we did things different. But Americans want us to do things differently, and they want us to work together."

    In order for Bipartisanship to work Republican can not just say NO on principle alone. They have to work in the best interest of the country. BOTH DEMOCRAT and REPUBLICAN need to stop this political bickering and get some REAL change done.

    February 15, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. Joseph From Ohio

    what's wrong with the republicans? The campaign is over and they lost. Prez. Obama is trying to clean up your mess and you want him to fail? You guys will be disappointment badly because the Obama team already knows that. They are using the bi-partisan move to get rid of you but you guys are not smart enough to realize that. Idiots.

    February 15, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  7. maladjusted1

    Good job, Mr. Schock – way to use some common sense.

    February 15, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Obama's not my Hero

    Good job standing up for yourself!!

    February 15, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. DC Pam

    Good for you Mr Schock keeping your resolve!! I voted for Obama and I want him to be successful but I want him to keep his promises. Five days of sunshine to review something is not too much to ask.

    February 15, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. srinu

    Right, they had good time looting and they wrote patriotic laws, two face dollar dogs, they don't care about people of America.

    February 15, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. Unemployed Republican

    This guy is destroying himself politicaly. In preorie lot of people are loosing jobs and want something done about the economy to be able to work again. Caterpillar announce publicly that they will be able to rehire people if the bill pass. What is he talking about?
    Do they have a brain supporting him to vote against the bill or this is just another lie from a republican trying to follow party ideology.
    Sometimes I just don't get it. Some people are really empty brain.

    February 15, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  12. Kenneth Liechty

    Representative Schrock can be proud of his decision to vote against the "stimulus" package. Anyone who has closely followed its creation and final result cannot be fooled by either the attempted intimidation of congress or the media. It is refreshing to know that some of our elected representatives possess the personal integrity and courage to stand up for what is right for our great country, and not allow themselves to be duped into voting for something that is in no way the resultant transparent, bipartisan and "shovel-ready" legislation promised by the president. Sadly, it is difficult to acknowledge that our president has been dishonest with us.

    February 15, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. db

    ....and apparently "Bipartisanship" to a Republican means:
    Democrats should ingore the top economists who say the bill should really be more like 1 Trillion; Cut out "wasteful" things like reconstruction for schools, and Surprise Surprise- CUT TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY!
    Always worked great before, right?

    The party of NO (new ideas) strikes again...

    February 15, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. Richard

    It's about time one of our leaders went against President Obama! Way to go! You should be our next President!

    February 15, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. Barbara

    For God's sake leave the man alone! The man has only been on office for not even a month yet and you Republicians think he can work miracles. Who got us in this mess anyway? He should have been thrown out of office the first year. Worst president in my lifetime of 70 years!

    February 15, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Unsympathetic

    It's sadly pathetic that Schock is playing partisan politics as a "freshman" – Republicans have zero ideas other than "If it's democratic, it must be bad." If Schock doesn't like the bill – HE SHOULD CRAFT HIS OWN. But instead of bothering to do his job, he cowers on the sideline. America needs action, not Republican partisan tricks. McCain wants Obama to be bipartisan? He needs to propose salient concepts other than "cut taxes" – rhetoric which is unfounded at best, pathetically stupid at worst. Also, if Republicans want Obama to be bipartisan, THEY need to be bipartisan as well. I haven't seen one filibuster yet.. McCain must not actually mean what he says.

    February 15, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. mike

    what is this, try and please a republican month? Please, all obama has to do is fix the economy, these guy will quickly jump on board when it is politically beneficial.

    February 15, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. Judy from PA

    It really is sad the way this bill went down. The Dems wrote it behind closed doors, gave the Repubs about 8 hours to read it after they both agreed to give everyone 48 hours to read it, and then voted on it. Sad. And why is Obama traveling around? Isn't the campaign over?? Doesn't he have work to do in Washington??

    February 15, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Emmanuel Idogho

    Rep. Aaron Schock lacks personal initiative and sense of understanding burried in the ruble of decade politics. Otherwise, there is no way on earth will any lifely person will ever think that a multibillion dollar corpoaration to recover with thousands dollar project stimulus package. We all know that if it is package meant to be squandered for unrealistic war, GOP will be for it. But the one to bailout the main street, which GOP will not benefit, it will not earn their vote. Rep. Aaron Schock belong to this generation and he has failed his generation.

    February 15, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. Eric

    I do not know why Obama is trying to please republicans congressmen. It is very sickening. They have proven over and over that do not care for the ideas of liberals or Democrats. When they held office, they show us no mercy with thier polices. I no longer care for bipartisen with the republicans. Obama, I feel you are going to waste your whole 4 year term trying to appease them. They hate our ideas, and their ideas are ineffective. Conservative ideas just do not work in reality. As far as attacking Obama, we are watching you. If it is a fight that you want, then it is fight you will recieve.

    February 15, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. joan

    The GOP is so embarrassed that Bush destroyed the economy with their help and their stripping of financial and business regulations. They know how bad the economy is and that it will require much more from the President and his cabinet so, they will hope and pray that this stimulus package fails so they can should I told you so.

    Trouble with that is that everyone of us who voted against Bush the first and second time can all shout with truth and proof on our side, "we told you so".

    The GOP is responsible for the financial meltdown, the housing crisis resulting millions of jobs lost. From 2000 to 2006 it was a Republican President , Republican controlled Congress and a Republican controlled Senate. The Republicans allowed this nation to crumble, now, the Democrats have to clean up their mess while they give their useless opinions about procedure.

    February 15, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  22. Aviate

    “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.

    Hmmm–and here the last 8 years "bipartisanship" has meant that Democrats have to give the GOP whatever it wants. It doesn't matter if their ideas (or idea–more tax cuts for the rich) have failed repeatedly and with disastrous consequences. So apparently "bipartisanship" in GOP-speak has nothing to do with what's good for the country and everything to do with the GOP getting as much as it can for itself and the special interests who back it.

    The GOP–they may be using the same words, but they're speaking an entirely different language from those of us living in the real world.

    February 15, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. Andy

    We will never agree on everything. I believe this man did what he was elected to do, represent us the people who don't believe in this bill and didn't give in to pressure to be "Bipartisan" when clearly people on both sides of the political spectrum disagreed. . Remember Mr. President you still have to earn the approval of the 46% of the people who didn't support you. I like you as a person Mr. President but I disagree with your stances on key issues.

    February 15, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. James

    I find it so interesting now that the Dems are in charge the republicans are screaming for bi-partisanship. Where was all this when Bush was ramming all those spending bills down our throat. I hope and pray after the 2010 election there is even less republicans in office. As for Rep. Schock keep drinking that kool aid from the house GOP and see far that gets you.

    February 15, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. A. Darton

    John Boehner told these guys how to vote. That is the reason why he didn't vote in favor of the Stimulus Bill. It puzzle me how for eight years these Republicans didn't give a darn about what anything cost. Whatever Bush wanted he got. Now all of a sudden they are so concern about the debt. Tell me how much has that Iraq war cost the U.S. ? Really how much has it cost? What about the tax cut for the rich? What about that drug bill? President Obama didn't ask for this mess, it was left for him to deal with. Let us remember John McCain went around telling everyone that nothing was wrong with the economy,till it slap him in the face and he called himself canceling his campaign. For along time Bush ignore that the economy was in trouble. Now they want to tell someone how to fix something they caused and ignored. I think McCain haven't deal with the fact that he lost in November. If I was the President I wouldn't keep trying to reach out to them. He said he would, but I am so tired of the same old politcs in Washington. Finally Obama Supporters listen up, we need to get ready for 2010. We need to find the Republicans in our area who's up for re-election and go to the polls like we did November 2008 and get rid of them all!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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