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. republicans hate america

    Just another congressman that hates this country and would rather spend money invading and rebuilding other country's with our tax dollars. Hopefully Obama has had his reach across the isles fix and stop appeasing these traitors

    February 16, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  2. wasabe kid

    Conservative leaders have decided to topple the Obama presidency. They have returned to the Newt Gingrich playbook: block, delay, oppose, criticize, distort, prevent, impeach, resist, and dispute. They search for an objectionable paragraph in a thousand page bill and then act as if that paragraph is the entire bill.

    Conservative leaders would rather rule a bankrupt America than help govern a prosperous one. Conservative voters, if they are middle class, are voting against their own interests. They are being conned by their leadership.

    February 16, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. eddie

    Good for Senator Schock, for standing up to President Obama. This bail-out is full of extras and needs to be trimed. This use of Air-force one to fly around the country to push this bail-out is wrong, when the cost is very high and persons need help with food and homes.
    This Money could be spent for their help.

    February 16, 2009 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  4. JB

    I know people are going to call this kid dumb etc. . . .but the truth is, he is the smart one. Obama promised no more pork and bs attached to bills. That is exactly what this has. 30 mil for field mice etc. . . Ya, I know at least it is something, but we should expect better. Cali needs to tar and feather pelosi.

    February 16, 2009 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  5. Sick of the sickos

    Apparently he doesn't really know his constituents. Nor does he realize that for the last eight years NOT ONE republican extended a hand in true bi-partisan fashion.
    Not to worry Schock ... YOU will receive FREE health care off the backs of Americans for the rest of your life!

    February 16, 2009 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. Srirama S.V

    Bipartisanship happens only if both sides come together. Republicans should stop being sour losers and do what is good for the country if they really put their country first. Stop referring to constituents if the decision that are made to vote against the package came from party leadership.

    February 16, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  7. Former Lifelong Republican supporting Obama, Columbia, TN

    I pray to God that Obama's stimulus plan is successful, because if it is, then Republicans will eat their meaningless criticism. The GOP has some nerve complaining about this plan, when they spend 8 years getting America into the economic mess that it is in right now. They can offer nothing but criticism, because they don't have an original plan to offer of their own. Tax cuts are not going to stimulate the economy.

    I know this is wrong to say, but I really do HATE Republicans right now! They are just a party full of idiots.

    February 16, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. R in Maine

    Ultimately he listened to the fascist wing of his party, deciding that he did not as an individual have the mind or the will to act for the benefit of the United States. He did not look like that kind of person when he got elected, but he will when he is replaced in 2010.

    February 16, 2009 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. DG

    I believe this guy listened to Boehner, not his constituents, and voted no. The Republicans have no intenton of ever supporting Obama in anything he does. All the more reason to vote them out in the next election.

    February 16, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. eva

    BRAVO!!!!!! Good for you to actually vote for the people who elected you! Our two senators from Maine DID NOT DO THAT, and I will be shocked if either one of them ever gets elected again! Bravo for you not to cave under Obama's pressure. I wish you were my representative!

    February 16, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  11. MS Redhead

    Mr. Schock:
    Thank you for giving me back some hope that the younger generation CAN think for themselves instead of running in herds like cattle. You also showed me that not all politicians from Illinois are corrupt. I can only wish that those legislators in Congress who have been there for years would LEARN from YOUR example and be reminded of WHO put them in office.

    February 16, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  12. DFinFL

    In Republiban world, if it doesn't cut taxes for the rich, it isn't stimulating their donors (aka "constituents").


    February 16, 2009 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  13. Mr. Johnson to you

    Who is this guy! The Republicans had
    8 years to make a change in this country.

    8 long years to keep us from reaching this point
    8 long years to figuar out we were heading toward a depression
    8 long years to to convince Bush somethiT Png needs to change
    8 long years to give suggestions to fix the ecomony
    8 long years to stop the Banks
    8 long years to create a better system


    February 16, 2009 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  14. PK California

    Obama has extended his hand to the Republicans, but they are keeping tight fists. They are killing any bypartisanship agreements and it's on their heads, not Obama's! The change has to come from THEM!

    February 16, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. Obama is talking like a Politician - Misleading

    Arm twisting in public, even good naturedly, is a poor bi partisan substitute to actually working with the GOP Mt Obama . And it backfired with the first year Congressman from IL as thousands of caterpillar employees urged him NOT to vote for the spending bill because there was too little in there for infrastructure projects, and that is what Caterpillare needs in its business. and during Obama's speech at Caterpilar, Obama said the company would begin rehiring laid off workers when the bill was passed. The Caterpillar CEO corrected Obama after the speech when he told reporters that Caterpillar would be laying off more people – likely due to the fact that there is too much unnecessary pork in the spending bill and not enough for infrastructure projects as Obama had originally promises.

    These two incidents underscore a growing bad practice of Obama – misleading the American people, and in some cases, outright lying to them.

    I ask Americans:

    Do we need jobs for teachers, or money for condoms at school?

    Do we need to save jobs of police and firemen, or do we need to save Pelosi's white salt water marsh mouse?

    Do we need to rebuild schools, highways, and bridges, or do we need to build a choo choo for Senator Harry Reid from Los Angeles to Las Vegas?

    Do we need to give need tax breaks to small business, or shall we send money to Philipine soldiers?

    Shall we rebuild school gymnasiums, or buuld frisbee golf courses?

    Shall we buy new computers for schools, or new cars for federal employees and new uniforms for the TSA?

    These are the choices Obama and the Dems have made for us .... does anyone believe they are stimulus? Does anyone believe they are the best use of our funds

    February 16, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  16. Duke

    I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria,” Obama added.

    And he did do the right thing by voting NO! Thanks for your learned advice Mr. President.

    February 16, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  17. Kenneth

    Don't tell me Peoria is NOT in line to get any of the money for infrastructure projects coming from this stimulus package!

    Is it true that NOT ONE of the Catapillar employees wanted their congressman to vote for this bill? Why weren't none of them interviewed?

    I would like to hear directly from some of Schocks constituents directly.

    February 16, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  18. Becky

    Um I think the only people this guy listened to is Rush and Hannity.

    February 16, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  19. Sandy Shores

    Maybe this young Republican should worry about what is good for the people that elected him rather than what may be good for his colleagues. Republican continues to shoot themselves in the foot.

    February 16, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  20. Honestlady

    I swear to you...just out of pure spite that these Republicans don't care if we all crash and burn. They are pissed that things have not gone their way with the elections so they are determined NOT to work with the president on ANYTHING. I am convinced, even if the president just decided to put a ban on abortion...even the repubs would oppose it just out of spite!!!! We have to do something! There is no perfect solution to our current condition....but we have to do SOMETHING. We at least have to try.

    This is ridiculous and these childish little games won't go unpunished. The repubs will realize this in a couple of years.

    February 16, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  21. Unemployed Republican

    Rep Aaron Schock you are a young politician and you should use your brain not emotion or follow failed ideology of your party.
    If I was you I will either vote Yes or simply not vote at all which by the way will be very smart to do. What if the bill worked and people in your district benefit from it big time? Are you going to come back and say i'm sorry?
    When you are a young politician you don't gamble and put all your chips on one thing. Go back and learn OBAMA's history in the IL senate if you are looking for a political bright in the future.
    Just a political advice.

    February 16, 2009 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  22. Julie S.

    Now this is what I call integrity!
    LOL... Obama cannot bribe this young man.

    February 16, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  23. Eva

    Good for you, Aaron, stick up for your own personal beliefs!

    February 16, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  24. Charlie in Maine

    CNN, My comment , like the GOP seems to be waiting forever to moderate. What is the deal? Is ther a page that explains the rules for getting messages posted?

    February 16, 2009 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  25. Pat, Columbus OH

    I used to live in the Congressman's area. Mr. Shock's voting record is strictly down the party line. Believe me, he is never going to vote for anything proposed by a Democrat.

    I applaud President Obama for reaching across the aisle and am disheartened by the lack of response on the Republicans' side. If they really listened to their constituency, they'd know that even when people decry the spending, they still want relief. The GOP didn't even try to work with the Dems as evidenced the the total lack of any GOP vote in support of the stimulus package in the House. They may really regret their arrogance in a couple of years when they're voted out of office.

    February 16, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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