By Amie Parnes and Justin Sink - 02/13/13 07:19 PM EST
At the start of a three-day road trip to sell initiatives included in his State of the Union address, Obama told workers at an auto parts plant in Asheville, N.C. his plan would spur economic growth by creating good-paying jobs in struggling communities.
“Our middle class, when it's growing, when it's thriving … that's the American dream. That's what we have we have to fight for," he added.
Even before Obama touched down in North Carolina on Wednesday, the White House began fleshing out the president’s plan — including the proposal for a $6-billion manufacturing tax credit in the administration's upcoming budget.
Read more on Obama's first post-State of the Union public appearance.