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. obama-mama

    Oh he's a star wannabe clown. Get over yourself. This is not Fast Times at Ridgemont High.....

    March 23, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. Keep Deleting My Comments

    Can the members of Congress and high profile people get a restraining order? These so-called journalist in plain clothes and a "handy cam" sounds really weird. This Congressman seams to be OK with it.

    March 23, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. Bash

    What experience has this guy got?Has he managed anything?How can he understands policy formulation?Blah,blah,blah,,,,those are the comment from GOP on the new president,but a 27year old whose joint just ossified barely few years ago is fit to represent his people.Young man you have my 100% support,just dont let the elders in your party&rush poison your fresh mind.Work for the people and you will go far!

    March 23, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Don't be shocker Schock. Welcome to the big leagues.

    March 23, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. Justin

    There is a thin line between freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and stalking, TMZ regularly pushes into the stalking category.

    March 23, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Perspicacious Chicagoan

    How come when Bill O'Reilly engages in this kind of behavior to Democrats, the right wing calls it "the greatest ambushes" yet when TMZ engages in this exact same behavior to Republicans, the right wing calls it "stalking"?

    March 23, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Dave C - NJ

    Good. For hundreds of years congress has been out of touch and unreachable. It's about time they were accessed via modern media. There is nothing wrong with the public seeing these folks and getting to know them better. It raises interest like the Rep. said, and these guys actually affect our lives, unlike actors or pop stars.

    March 23, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. Maladjusted1

    Good for you – don't bend from the pressure to vote for this garbage.

    March 23, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    When your are "HOT"---you "HOT."

    March 23, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. dave

    Sarah Palin part 2. Read up on the gaffs this guy made while running for his seat.... check out his policies on nukes with China. This guy is scary....

    March 23, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Gracie, MD

    WHY are we following this little "boy". This is news? Gee CNN, are you running out of stories to report on?

    Give us a break, NO ONE cares about this little boy....

    March 23, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. Astounded

    This is very good. Once the politicians are accosted to the point that they're completely uncomfortable and in an unlivable situation, they'll finally do something about the out-of-control paparazzi. It's unfortunate, but most people have to 'hurt' before they'll do anything about anything. That's one reason they need to be paying for healthcare the same way the rest of us do.

    March 23, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Time for Term Limits

    Is anyone Schocked by this?

    March 23, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. jim

    ....tmz is a leftist rag organization, with their noses fully stuck up obama's butt.....continuing the hollywood tradition of destroying anyone and anything none-liberal....

    March 23, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Andrew Broering

    There is nothing wrong with entertainment reporting and even harmless gossip but this has gotten out of hand. It trivializes and puts unnecessary pressures and burdens on members of government.

    March 23, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. Lola

    Disgusting dumbing down of America. This last campaign felt more like celebrity gossip than substance and we elected a celebrity, not a leader. I'm sick at the thought of TMZ stalking a politician from rural America and analyzing his every move. What story will they print??? "Schocker gets his coffee from McDonald's! Next on TMZ" No sense pumping money into education if people are getting their political news from TMZ and SNL.

    March 23, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Jay

    Has anyone had a camera and video one of these TMZ scumbags?

    March 23, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Terry, TX

    No more voting for cute, good looking people with no governing experience....look where that has gotten us.

    March 23, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Molly

    I can't stand TMZ and hope they stay out of Washington D.C.! They are tabloid trash and while many in D.C. are worthy of that distinction there is to much on the line right now for these distractions.

    March 23, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Rick

    Do we know why TMZ targeted Rep. Schock?

    March 23, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. ch

    It does not matter how young he is or how good he looks – if he is just another right wing republican, he wil not succeed.

    Americans sent a clear message to republicans last November – change your ways, your views and your ideas or you will become extinct.

    March 23, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Mari

    This guy's just another egocentric GOPer !

    March 23, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Beverly, NYC

    Sarah Palin 2.0. Eric Cantor better watch out the Republicans have a new poster boy.

    March 23, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. j

    Another Repub poster child ---–

    March 23, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Wayme, ca

    Put the republicans on the extinct spedies list.

    They have nothing new to offer and are done.

    March 23, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
1 2 3 4