March 23rd, 2009
09:16 AM ET
13 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. John

    And the Republicans say Obama is a celebrity seeker....

    March 22, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Dillard

    If there is one thing Americans are pros at, enjoy , and value too's GOSSIP!

    March 22, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Denine

    I think Rep. Schock has a great attitude and is sooooooo pleasing to the eyes. But, most importantly he breathes new life into an ever-aging party. Hopefully, he'll stay fiscally conservative, but distance himself from the evangelical crowd that is killing the party.

    March 22, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. MK

    Looks like they have found their man, err...ahh...boy. Once President Obama has served his 8 years then this guy will be of age and can run. I am sure he will be more popular than Palin. That is, if he "courts" the "right" people on the right, can't win without the Bible thumpers if you are a republican, ask McCain.

    March 22, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. yuri

    A papparazzi prowl on the Peoria congressman-tiro will probably pave the path for future pouncin' panthers to problematically pry on other political novices, perhaps, regardless of party affiliation. These rookies may then resort to relentless rhetoric about the roguish elements from the other party, beware observers!

    March 22, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Had It

    He seems like a nice young man.

    Maybe he can bring some new ideas and some respectability to the outdated "old-men's club" (repubs). I certainly hope he offers more than just NO.

    March 22, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Learn from the Obamas. When you start off the wrong footing, giving fist bumps, making self centered remarks then don't expect to be respected. Respect must be earned. Choose meduims carefully or find yourself the next laughing stock of the country.

    March 22, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. Dave NYC

    Don't get too full of yourself buddy, you're no Britney Spears.

    March 22, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Kyle

    Leave the man alone...

    March 22, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Walter

    You are a star!

    I would make the most of the free publicity. I would really start to worry about your values if the libs were not talking about you.

    March 22, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Rick

    Schock, use TMZ to your advantage, use it as a pulpit to spread the word that the DEMONCRATES ran the Congress while Bush was in Office. Maybe the Dem's will listen to TMZ since they wont believe the facts that the Dem's are responsible for this mess

    March 22, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. AndyBlue

    Seriously! Who cares what members of the useless minority party of death, lies, death and destruction say anymore.

    The republicans have more then shown what they stand for and now they have been reduced to the obstructionists. Thats all.... nothing more.


    March 22, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. james

    TMZ are truly the lowest of the low.

    March 22, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. CTSadler

    We should stalk the stalkers.

    March 22, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Bradley from CA

    That's just plain weird.

    March 22, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. maybe TMZ can provide the checks and balances

    because the politicians sure can police themselves

    March 22, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Perspicacious Chicagoan

    How come when Bill O"Reilly does this, the right wing refers to it as "the greatest ambushes" and when TMZ does the same thing, it is called "stalking"?

    March 22, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Jim F

    Looks like he's 27 going on 50.

    March 22, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. malclave

    Well, from what I've seen, TMZ has more journalistic integrity and credibility than media organizations like CNN, MSNBC, etc.

    March 22, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. jaye

    KUDOS to TMZ... they will find all the republicans little dirty secrets and expose them.

    March 22, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. JonDie

    Maybe they're trying to confirm that Schock is a schmuck.

    March 22, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Brain Hertz

    So, this would be a news item about an affiliated media organization reporting on something?

    Is there anything to report on without resorting to manufacturing it?

    March 22, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. Franky

    It ain't a surprise...I mean, we from Illinois know how to play this game, LOL!! It ain't our fault we are fine, LOL!!

    Let's sit back, relax and have the ladies come through...

    March 22, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. laughing@theGOP

    about time...

    much better than hollywood... gossip on the GOP

    March 22, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Welcome to the big league Rep. Schock. I hope you're not shocked.

    March 22, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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