Obama Road Tests Message on Economic Competitiveness in Wisc.


One day after his State of the Union speech, in which he focused on job creation and keeping the U.S. economy competitive, President Obama traveled to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to speak at Orion Energy Systems, a company that focuses on energy technology. He emphasized the themes put forth in Tuesday’s address, including innovation and clean energy, saying “we’ve got to play to win, and we’ve got to play to win the future.”

To applause from gathered workers, he said “absolutely confident America will win the future in this century as we did in the last.”

His trip also included scheduled stops at an aluminum plant and wind turbine power manufacturer.

President Obama tours Orion Energy Systems, a power technology company that designs, manufactures and deploys energy efficiency and renewable energy technology for commercial and industrial business, Manitowoc, Wisc., on Jan. 26, 2011. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The president plans several similar stops over the next month, a campaign-style follow up to his speech, which marks the halfway point of his term in office. Wisconsin is a state that the president won during the 2008 election, but leaned Republican in the 2010 midterms and appears to be a battleground state ahead of the 2012 campaign.

A Chicagoan and Bears fan, President Obama was presented with a Green Bay Packers jersey, three days after his team lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship game. He joked with reporters that “they’re rubbing it in” as Gov. Scott Walker handed him the jersey.