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. Joe Fattal

    A new president in the making. We might see him in 2012.

    March 22, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. mark

    Cant blame hollywood or the media. The voting sheep will believe anything they see on TV. Looks who is our president now!!

    March 22, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. Ted

    Well, at least the press is going after who they were intended to when they were given freedom of press.

    March 22, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  4. Allen McBride

    I like this rule about noting when the subject of a story is part of the same company as the reporting agency. What really makes this story interesting is the image of Time Warner sending out a plain-clothes guy with a handycam to do this bizarre paparazzi thing with Schock, and then sending out a journalist in a suit to ask how he felt about the guy with the handycam.

    March 22, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. Peter E

    I don't know what's more disturbing... TMZ considering politicians for a material, or young republican congressmen actually enjoying it.

    March 22, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Hmm, wonder why he got calls from stay at home moms. What exactly does that mean?

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

    We need politicians that work for us, not running from one talk show to the next. We elected these people to represent us not feed their egos, hopefully the Dems and Reps wake up soon before this country goes bankrupt while they pat each other on the back

    March 22, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Larry

    Be glad-the only thing Obama has going for him is the media,and they got him elected as the president,they will be throwing him under the bus by 2010,and maybe you will be the next star !!

    March 22, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Russell

    All TMZ wants to do is catch you in an embarrassing moment and then show it for all the world to see. I think I watched TMZ once for about 5 minutes because that is all it took for me to realize this was not a legitimate show but rather the National Enquirer on TV. Pointless and stupid trash. All they want to do is humiliate people for profit.

    March 22, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  10. Mark Collins

    L. Ron Hubbard was declared "Persona Non-Grada" in many countries around the world because his organization was considered a threat to national security even though he could not be charged with a crime. Why wouldn't this form of exile be appropriate for those who took inappropriate compensation from bailout companies?

    March 22, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. Ranteh

    too bad you don't spend as much time and effort explaining why loser ceos deserve the bonuses paid by taxes by hard working people. that is really cool. you may as well make a movie of it while you are at it. name it "Stupidity"

    March 22, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. colby

    As one of Schock's constituents, I can guarantee you that he knew exactly what going on with that handycam. His primary concern is self-aggrandizement–always has been, always will be, and I have no doubt his PR team arranged the whole affair. He's in Washington soley to promote Aaron Schock and will do and/or arrange anything to see his name in print. Aaron Schock serves and worships only Aaron Schock.

    March 22, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. Susan

    Once the TMZ and other stalk-arazzi companies begin harassing Congressmen and women, hopefully Congress will enact stiff penalties against intrusive paparrazi and even stiffer penalties against stalkers.

    March 22, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  14. R

    is he saying that stay at home moms are the ones watching this show? So guys work, while mom watched the show. Whatever

    March 23, 2009 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  15. D in Fla

    It doesn't undermine the seriousness of his work on Capitol Hill until TMZ spins it into something to make it fit their agenda. He needs to shun these so-called reporters for that site like they're all carrying the plague. Given any chance at all, they will ruin his career by saying things that are not true just to get hits to their site. He will find himself answering entirely too many questions about what TMZ said, rather than questions about the work at hand. Take out a restraining order against them immediately.

    March 23, 2009 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  16. finally....

    get the camera off Obie already! this Aaron guy is hot, whether you like him or not.

    March 23, 2009 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  17. Anonymous

    I just got done watching the video of Aaron Schock. For being so young at 27, I thought he held his own pretty well while the interviewer was trying to make him slip up towards the end. That's probably why he's already in congress. Who know's? Maybe he's got a shot at being president someday.

    March 23, 2009 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  18. CC Daniels

    I just hope they are going to be equal opportunity stalkers!

    March 23, 2009 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  19. Dawn

    it is wrong to stalk; no matter who you are.

    March 23, 2009 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  20. S Callahan

    lol they should put a TMZ film crew on each member in the Congress and Senate.....that would be covering real accountablity! lol

    March 23, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. blinky

    i think he should be careful, this may be a subtle way to undercut his credibility. if obama got "celebrity" attack ads, you can imagine what this guy's opponents are already scheming up.

    March 23, 2009 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Dakota Kyle Evans

    Of course Schock is an odditity, in which TMZ has a lot of interest, given he is probably the only repub not old enough to be eligible for Medicare!

    March 23, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. Fred

    A twenty-something in congress. Well, guess that flies in the face of the traditional thinking that politicians are all a bunch of old white guys.

    March 23, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. barack is still just b.o.

    Stalked by TMZ?

    Watch out, obama is going to get jealous and you know how the DNC goes after anyone who upsets the mesiah.

    March 23, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Ahhh, so THIS is how the Republican party is going to try to be young and hip; they paid off TMZ to "cover" their nice white, young, Christian men as they go about their work in Washington. Interesting.

    March 23, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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