In a highly publicized visit to Caterpillar, Inc. Thursday, President Obama used some of his political capital to pressure freshman Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) in front of his constituents in a visit to the Caterpillar company in Illinois. Schock, who was invited to fly back to his district with Obama aboard Air Force One, came under fire from the president for opposing the stimulus package.
After asking Schock to stand up in front of the crowd, Obama let loose on the newly elected representative.
“Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,” Obama told employees. “And so we know that all of you are going to talk to him after our event, because he’s a very talented young man. I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria.”
Schock, whose predecessor, Ray LaHood, is now Obama’s secretary of transportation, said he waited around after the president’s remarks, but not one Caterpillar employee approached him to ask that he vote for the bill.
“In fact, I have received over 1,400 phone calls, e-mails and letters from Caterpillar employees alone asking me to oppose this legislation,” Schock said on the House floor Friday. “Why? Because they get it. They know this bill is not stimulus.”
Schock urged a no vote and followed through this afternoon. He’s clearly in touch with his constituents. Can Obama say the same?