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. Dayahka

    Had ANY Republicans voted for the measure, it might then have been interesting to find out why they voted as they did, for or against, but since ALL Republicans voted against the measure, then this wasn't an act of political integrity but simply a herding move. Schock would then have been honest had he said: "I can't think for myself; I do what the Republican leaders tell me to do, so in effect I am totally useless to my constituents." If he continues to want to say that he is doing what is best for his constituents, then let him come right out and say that he will refuse to accept any part of the stimulus bill that applies to his district. If the Republican hve any integrity, they would all refuse to accept any of the provisions of the bill for their constituents....But we all know they will not do that because they just like to talk the talk but can't do the walk.

    February 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Sam in NC

    It shows you what a great President we have...reaching out a hand to the Republicans and what do they do but try to impede the recovery. I can't wait until the next election so I can vote against the Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Vera

    Gee, I thought it was the Republicans that wrote the last bill under Bush to rescue the economy, I must be wrong. No one got much time to argue that one. Apparently then the economy was in trouble and the Democrats stood up the plate whether they had to hold their noses or not. Maybe the Republicans think now it isn't their turn? Did the Democrats mess everything up in the past eight years? I know the Republicans keep broadcasting that the Democrats held sway in the House for the past two years (because they lost the confidence of the people and were voted out, I thought. Wrong again, I guess.) And what really gets me is that 8 billion dollars divided among 300 million people works out to a debt of $3,000 a piece–so much, Mr. McCain, for selling our children down the river–and you didn't, and Bush didn't, and the wars cost nothing, and you took over with money in the bank? Pleeeeeeze. Maybe Schock is too young to remember what happened 8 years ago.

    February 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. JSU-TIGER99

    Once again all the Republican lawmakers are voting against the stimulus bill and yet they say they want to help, I beleive they want the BLACK man to fail. Why can't Congress just do the right thing and work together when BUSH ask for $700 BILLION DOLLAR he got it and gave it out like COTTON CANDAY and they have no idea what the CEOs did with thr money and they made the AUTO-MAKER bend over to get F&$^ up the A $ $ without asking them to do it and yet you don't want to help the MILLIONS of people who have lost their jobs, THIS COUNTRY IS A JOKE

    February 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Obama 2.0

    The bill was posted since the 26th of Jan. with 7 revisions but most of it stayed the same the only real changes were the dollars and how some of them would be spent. the Republicans and the media keep calling it the stimulus bill. First off, the Title is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 H.R.1 not the Stimulus bill

    It also has a short definition that states: Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.

    So the young congressman does nothing but show that he can repeat the same talking points of his elder leaders and oviously has not read the bill.

    Just read the bill people, you can find it at the library of congress Thomas.
    knowledge & wisdom is power and the lack of it got us here.

    February 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Obama's big mistake is assuming that all of us are as socially inclined as he seems to be. He sees people who are out of work, broke, sick, or whatever, and wants to do something to help them. Unfortunately, for him, a lot of us just aren't that socially inclined. I'll help my friends out if they need it, but I feel no responsibility at all for total strangers. And, so far as I can tell, this "stimulus" has a very high percentage of handouts for people who've been irresponsible and screwed themselves or really ought to have enough self respect not to go begging from strangers.

    Capital-L Liberals seem to see us as One Big Happy Family, everyone selflessly helping each other, yada, yada, yada. Unfortunately, a lot of us see ourselves as individuals first and members of some group second if at all, and, if at all, a group consisting of no more than our families and friends.

    February 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Deborah Moore, Roseville, MN

    Good afternoon Representative Schock,

    I can not understand why you and other Republicans are so willing to send money on a futile war in Iraq and at the same time, are unwilling to spend the equivalent amount or our tax dollars to rebuild America.

    I would like to have a conversation with one or more of your constituents, who encouraged you to vote against the stimulus plan. I would like to know why they think that doing "nothing" is the "answer".

    When one is confronted by any sort of crisis or catastrophe, I doubt that one would choose to sit idly by, rather than take action to rectify the situation.

    I hope that the folks in your district are demanding the best of you, and that that would include making a valiant effort to rebuild America for ALL Americans.

    February 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Sean Hannitylickstaint

    Wow, this kid is a giant douche. Nice to see that the GOP is continuing their long tradition of placing morons in positions of power. Looks like we Democrats will be running this nation for a LONG, LONG, TIME!!! Hahahahahaha!!!

    February 15, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Dee

    Id suggest that he was more afraid of the wrath of the Republican leaders then he was concerned about the bill. Its unfortunate that poitics has come before the country for the Republicans. They might do better in the polls next time if they showed they can put the interests of the country first!

    February 15, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Rie

    Why is it everyone believes it when the Republicans say "no one in Congress read the bill"? I read it, read the conference paper and final bill. Why can't you ask, "If the original bill was given to you on January 28th, why didn't you read that?" Or, "If you didn't read the bill, how did you find the 'pork'?" Or, "You say there's no bipartisanship, why are there amendments to the original bill written by Republicans before it got to the Senate?"

    When are you going to be fair and balanced in your reporting? Rhetorical question which I know no one will address. Sad state of affairs when you can't get factual information from someone claiming to give just the facts.

    February 15, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. The truth

    I have nothing to say on this but I will say this one thing...if it was bush still in office and he passed this that man up there would have blindly in a split second go along with it. But because they wish to give obama a hard time and challenge him which is not necessary it is done so. makes no sense whatsoever. And to add the republicans solutions have not worked so might as well try something new..thank you.

    February 15, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Betty in Webster NY

    I could say this young man is brain washed by the repubs. But I won't...bipartisanship only works if both parties agree to compromise. I could also say the Republicans are desperate to regain something but I won't. There is no compromise with them. I am not a dem just voicing my opinion. As an Independent I expected this to happen. However I feel Obama went about it wrong. Sit down with the peace pipe and have some conversation...

    February 15, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Nathan

    I don't think someone wanted to be ousted so soon by his party. It's unfortunate.

    February 15, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. D

    I applaud this young Senator for stinking to principles and not being swayed. Commendable. I wish many other politics would take a page from his book and do this when voting, even if the act in hindsight is wrong. Its better to be wrong by a judgement based on principles then being right and currying favor for favor sake.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Michael

    So, he stood with the obstructionists......building quite a legacy already.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. independent

    Right. Nationwide, 75% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans want the Stimulus Bill to pass. Freshman Congressman come to Washington, tries to decide what to do: follow GOP orders or vote with the President and the majority of the people. No Contest.

    Want to stay in Washington son? What RNC support and co-sponsored legislation on your resume? Do want you are told.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. dawn

    The republicans ran things their way for eight years. Look where it got us. Their idea of success left the country in a very deep hole. Schrock needs to wake up and look at it from another point of view besides republican. That's part of bipartisanship. All he wants to do is climb the political ladder. Something different has to be tried, his party has had a enough say in that respect.

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Colin Rigney

    Good to see some young blood stick to his guns after the "hard sell" he knew was coming from Obama. I hope Mr. Schock keeps his ideals in line. Does the President really think that this stimulus is a good thing? He went to college and got a law degree, he should at least be able to set aside his huge ego, step back and think about this. We know you won Mr. Obama, now do something that is right! My tax-paying dollars shouldn't be paying a racist infrastructure plan (Reich: "jobs shouldn't go to white males") among many other stupid ideas like contraception and getting new furniture. Raise a bake sale if you want to do that!! freakin' A man!

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Denise

    It was nice of Obama to try. What's the big deal? Isn't this the way politics should work?

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Dave from Georgia

    Remember tax cut by Bush in early 2000's? It did not work with today's economy. Why not we try the spending bill instead of tax cut and see how the economy will go in next 2-4 years.

    February 15, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Mellie

    He's just a little dummy. This Freshman boy doesn't know anything..."majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy".....what else does he expect the stimulus package to do? Stimulate his manhood?

    February 15, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. hotsexychimera


    February 15, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. a liberal

    It is not a surprise that Mr. Schock voted along with the majority of his party line.

    This is the reason why I so much admire Senator Snow, Specter, and Collins.

    February 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. John M.

    Typical republican garbage.

    February 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. CZC

    "Jimmy Carter Number 2"

    This guy is such a loser he thinks a ride on "spiffy" Air Force One is going to just going to buy someone out, He's wrong.

    Obama has promised a lot of rides. Wait till his wife has the baby in the White House !! You're gonna Freak ::))

    February 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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