According to a Business and Media Institute online article, President Obama’s claim last month that Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens supported the stimulus bill was a political “ambush.”
More than once, Obama stumped that Owens had justified the need for the $787 billion stimulus bill that the president would soon sign into law. Obama claimed Owens said the stimulus bill would allow his company to rehire employees who had been laid off.
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who represents the 18th Congressional District of which the city of Peoria and the Caterpillar headquarters are located, tells a different version than the mainstream media related to the American people.
“[Owens] said, ‘Aaron, I got ambushed,’” Schock added.
According to Schock, Owens said the president called him up asked him what it would take for him to rehire people at Caterpillar. Schock said Owens explained to him he told Obama he could rehire people if a “responsible stimulus bill is passed and the economy gets going again” he would rehire.
After that phone call was when Obama made his announcement in Springfield, Va. that Owens would rehire some of the laid off employees.
“Well, he made a couple of assumptions,” Schock said. “First was this stimulus bill was responsible and number two, it was going to get the economy going again, which it didn’t.”
Schock says, like Owens, he found himself put on the spot by the president during the whirlwind media circus to promote the so-called stimulus package.
“Here I am in the Caterpillar factory with, you know, probably 250-300 UAW members and I’m sure he thought he was in his turf,” Schock said. “And, you know, he said, ‘Where’s Aaron Schock?’ And you know, ‘Stand up,’ then went on to say nice things and say he had full confidence that I would do the right thing and that I want everyone of you to hit him up on the way out and tell him to vote for this.”
Schock said he stuck around for 45 minutes after the Caterpillar event and despite Obama’s plea, the people that came up to him said, “Stick your guns, this is a bad bill.” He also noted that chapter of the UAW in Peoria did not endorse the stimulus bill.
Furthermore, Schock said he heard from 1,400 constituents who identified themselves as Caterpillar employees asking him to vote against the stimulus. “So, I didn’t have a single person at that Cat plant ask me to vote for it and I had 1,400 Caterpillar employees urging me to vote against it.”
So much for “change” we heard so much about.