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. eoin

    he didn't look at his constituents. he looked at the GOP caucus and figured if a young guy like him went against party lines he'd be screwed.

    February 15, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. vick

    get a life you stupid rthug trying to make democrats look bad. GOP destroyed this country!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Think Blue

    Actually he listened to Rush or McCain, the people want help (PERIOD) which the Republicans will find out next election

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. John Turner

    Can any one ask all these senetors who voted against if they wouldn't touch the stimulus money coming there way?

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. John Toradze

    Of course he voted against it. The republicans know it will pass anyway, so they can't get heat for what would happen if it failed to pass. The republican political machine will be out to destroy any republican who votes against it. They have promised this publicly.

    This is disgusting behavior by the republican party. It is what happens in banana republics, not America. It only proves that republican congresspeople are cowards driven by bullies.

    February 15, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Steph

    Peoria should get any money from this bill. Let them get "help" from Mr. Schock. I'm sure he has a much better plan...yeah, um, nope.

    February 15, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Kathy

    Just like the many other issues the Republicans have!!! IT is there way or the highway and they do not think us as americans are noticing. They are dead wrong. They just want tax breaks for the rich and the TRICKLE down policies of the past. By all means de-regulation did a lot for middle class americans HA HA!
    I wrote my congressman over and over and he get on TV and said the american people do not want this stimulus. What a bunch of you know what!!! They only listen to the people with monet to line there pockets with. Just look at the MN by all means seat Frankin he earned it

    February 15, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Tom Insko

    This is front page on CNN but Burrisgate isn't? You may get tired of covering for the Chicago politicians that are running our country pretty soon.

    February 15, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Dana from Tulsa

    Now there's a guy that votes for what he believes is right, rather than allowing himself to be schmoozed (or pressured) by the most powerful person in the U.S. Can't fault him for that.

    February 15, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. SD

    Bottom line here, America.

    Republicans are NOT Democrats
    Democrats are NOT Republicans.

    By their very definitions, they must never mix, like water and oil.
    Sad but true.

    Add a little resentment on the part of Republicans over the fact that they lost the election, is it any wonder only 3 senators voted along with the stimulus package?

    They're all heeding the call of Rush Limbaugh when he says bluntly he wants Obama to fail.

    Thank you for continuing to make America a 3rd world country, Bush & Co.

    February 15, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. rob

    this punk will be just a footnote in the transformational presidency of Barack Obama....

    February 15, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Flo

    I think he may have made a mistake when he said "constituents" I think he meant to say "Republicans" like Cao in Louisianna succumbed to "Republicans" in the house. These two were not thinking about constituents but if they are smart next time they will think about their state before party or be booted out of office sooner rather than later.

    February 15, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. asdfjkl;

    If he doesn't think the stimulus bill is in the interests of his constituents, none of the money should go to that district.

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. FL gal

    Bravo, esp. to someone in my age group who stands up for what he believes is right!

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. 4movnfwd

    a freshman congressman? talk about inexperience.. he listened to his constituents because he is not seasoned enough to know and/or understand.. what about listening to the people? if you're gonna be a puppet anybody can do your job.

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. therealmarie

    It is as simply as this CNN. Obama fails we fail. Cut the BS. If this report is true, then what you are saying is that these people at Caterpillar are stupid and they rather than accept a plan that would allow them to make living, they rather stand firm w/this self-serving idiot of a Republican. My God! What are you trying to do compete w/Drudge. Whatever happened to the rules of the Fairness Doctrine? These are serius times and these kind of schoolyard games should noy be promoted by Corporate News Network.

    February 15, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. J Marsh

    the Gov't can't even co-ordinate a simple coupon distrubution for digital TV...little weary of them borrowing $787 Billion dollars (thank you japan and china) and figuring out what to do with that. I genuinely hope this puts a dent in this mess that is our economy...however hoping doesn't go very far.

    February 15, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Helen

    Sort of sounds like a bribe, doesn't it? Something doesn't smell quite right about that whole attempt.

    February 15, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. San Diego moderate

    As a fiscal conservative and social moderate, it appears to me that Obama has clearly made efforts to reach across party lines. I am disappointed by how much the Republicans have dug in with their unfounded objections. They seem fearful that Obama's competence will weaken their own positions, which may actually prove true over time when voters become even more weary of their fear-driven rhetoric.

    February 15, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Levis Valenzuela

    Schock, you Republicans raped this country economy during the last eight years. I just hope that on the next election the people of Illinois get your ass out of there.

    February 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. therealmarie

    CNN you'll repeat any Republican talking point.

    February 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Josh

    Good for Aaron!

    The stimulus bill is the worst boondoggle to occur in decades.

    The very idea that somehow the fiscal irresponsibility of spending even more money that we do not have, to correct years of fiscal irresponsibility by individuals and corporations alike, should strike every American as the height of idiocy.

    Throw in the incredible amount of pork in the bill (Yes, Pres. Obama, there was pork in there – otherwise the bille would have been maybe 25 pages long instead of over 700 pages), and the American public should really be angry about this thing.

    February 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Helen

    Sort of sounds like a bribe, doesn't it? Something doesn't smell quite right about that whole attempt. Way to follow your principles, Rep. Schock!

    February 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Lisa

    He did not listen to the people – he gave in to the Republican click. Even Arlen Spector said that quite a number of Republicans were glad that the three Republicans had the guts to vote yes, because all of the others wanted it to pass but didn't want their finger prints on the bill – so they can blame the dems for it later. I think the Repubs need to find a new job, because they are self-serving idiots, and do not care about their country or people.

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. alex

    Aaron will do well in Washington. He is not a difference maker. His dad or grandad probably left him millions of dollars thus, like most of the others he really could give a hoot about helping the American people.....deregulation is how his folks made their millions. He is in it for the power and recognition. Our democracy is reaching a very sad state.

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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