Holding a conference call with reporters this morning, Schock said that the $30,000 per-plate fee for Obama's birthday party seemed like a profligate display of wealth to ordinary Americans who are struggling.
“It seems a bit out of touch with the average ordinary American who is currently cutting back, having to live with less and this seems precisely the kind of decadence that the administration, and particularly President Obama, has criticized against," Schock said. "His remarks, relative to Las Vegas, about living it up, and private sector folks spending an inordinate amount of money on wining and dining, it seems a bit hypocritical to throw a $30,000 event on your birthday,”
The congressman said he hopes Obama will use the visit to reflect on how his policies have failed Illinois.
“Our state ranks in the top 10 worst performing states, economically, in the nation,” he said. “Our unemployment is 10.4 percent, despite a trillion dollar stimulus bill which was supposed to keep unemployment at or below 8 percent, despite the president getting much of his legislative agenda through the House and the Senate, Illinois, its employers and its small businesses continue to shed jobs.”
While Schock conceded that the stimulus had led to the hiring off 200,000 federal workers, “it was not the kind of stimulus my constituents were hoping for. It does very little to create stability and certainty in the private sector, which is what you need for entrepreneurs to take risks and invest, and number two, among those who were expecting large public works projects, we still have one of the highest unemployment rates in the construction industry trades alone.”
Since Obama will be raising money for Alexi Giannoulias, Schock was asked why he thinks the White House has taken so long to get involved in the Senate campaign.
Schock said he was surprised that, “considering his supposed close relationship or friendship with Alexi Giannoulias,” Obama was finally appearing at his first fundraiser three months before Election Day.
“It’s been very clear that for whatever reason, the president has been very hesitant about getting involved in this race,” Schock said. “There were a whole host of efforts to try to get anyone but Alexi. When he came to Quincy, Illinois, earlier this year, there was some question whether they were even going to allow Alexi on the stage with him.”
As a parting shot against Giannoulias, Schock predicted that “the last thing Illinois citizens want, while we’re trying to fix Washington, D.C., is a statewide official from Springfield.”
So welcome home and happy birthday, Mr. President. Now we know why he’s not spending it in Peoria.
UPDATE: Response emailed in by DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan:
What’s out of touch is saying that the 96k jobs that Illinoisans now have because of the Recovery Act isn’t 'the kind of stimulus that his constituents are looking for.’ What’s out of touch is saying that 200,000 jobs isn’t a good thing just because your party opposed the policy that helped create them. What’s out of touch is campaigning on a Republican agenda that promises to go back to the failed Bush policies of the past, despite the fact that it was those very policies that caused the deepest recession in nearly a century and cost 8 million Americans their jobs.
If Representative Schock spent as much time connecting with working families in his district as he did with the editors at TMZ and Padma Lakshmi maybe he’d know that.