March 23rd, 2009
09:16 AM ET
14 years ago

Republican stalked by gossip site like he's a Hollywood starlet

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Having mastered the Hollywood gossip scene, celebrity site TMZ apparently has set its sights on a new conquest - Capitol Hill.

The site - owned by Time Warner, CNN’s parent company - has started accosting members of Congress, including Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, as they go about their work in Washington.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Schock said of his first encounter with TMZ. “I was on my way to the floor for a vote, I’m talking to a constituent literally on my cell phone and there’s some guy with a handycam in street clothes walking next to me. And, so, I didn’t know what to expect.”

The 27-year-old freshman congressman, whose congressional district includes Peoria, Illinois, told CNN’s Howard Kurtz how his paparazzi encounter played in his Midwestern city.

Watch: Schock dishes on TMZ

“I was actually surprised by how many text messages, e-mails, phone calls I got from stay-at-home mom’s that were watching the [TMZ] show,” Schock said on State of the Union on Sunday. “People that log onto their Web site I guess regularly and check out the news on TMZ. … People who watch TMZ or different mediums don’t expect to see their congressman on such a show. They’re used to seeing the Britney Spears or the movie star.”

Schock is taking the attention from the celebrity site in stride and does not think it undermines the seriousness of his work on Capitol Hill.

“Some of these alternative forms [of media] are important because it gets nontraditional voters engaged,” he said. “If they’re learning about me on TMZ or some of these other blogs and YouTube videos, then they’re recognizing my face and my name so that when I’m out on CNN or the other networks talking about issues, they’re going to maybe stop . . . and listen to what I have to say.”

The young Republican was recently voted the hottest freshman in the current Congress by readers of the Huffington Post, a liberal Web site, and he has already received a fair amount of personal attention from President Obama - though it was not enough to convince Shock to support Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package

Filed under: Aaron Schock • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. katiec

    Aaron Shock is an extremely ambitious, arrogant, self serving right wing Republican. If he does not want to be the in spotlight (that is a joke) he should stop spouting off in front of the cameras at every
    opportunity. Living in his district am well aware of his convictions which are the same we voted against this last election.

    March 23, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Andrew

    Oooh another Maveric, going to do some maveric things in this grand old party of maverics.

    can we look forward to this maveric working his maveric magic and making a bid for the white house like a true GOP maveric.


    March 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. me

    Anybody else thinks Eric Cantor is hiding something? Ever hear him speak?

    March 23, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. paul c in san diego

    Does his momma know he's out playing congressman? LOL enjoy it while it lasts kid, you'll be yesterday's news tomorrow.

    March 23, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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