Obama touts competitiveness and takes some ribbing in Wisconsin trip

President Obama took his new theme of global competitiveness on the road Wednesday and received a little ribbing in the process.

Obama followed up his State of the Union address with a trip to Wisconsin, where the Chicago Bears fan ate some crow.


Upon landing, the president received a few Green Bay Packers jerseys. Obama, who wrongly predicted the Bears would beat the Packers, joked: "They're rubbing it in."

He then toured a small clean-energy manufacturing plant, extolled the virtue of innovation and told workers he had received three Green Bay jerseys since arriving in Wisconsin.

He did use legendary Green Bay Coach Vince Lombardi's words to illustrate the themes he laid out in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

"In the words of the man the Super Bowl trophy is named after: 'There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place,'" Obama said.

Obama, who won Wisconsin in 2008 by 14 points, is starting a series of trips designed to promote his State of the Union themes. Wisconsin will also be an important factor in the president's reelection campaign.

In his remarks at the energy plant, Obama warned that "when America is facing tougher competition from countries around the world than ever before, we’re going to need to up our game."

"We’re going to need to go all in," Obama said. "We’re going to need to get serious about winning the future."

Obama also touched on some of his other State of the Union themes, calling for education reform, new infrastructure, and cutting deficits and wasteful spending.

Obama's trip came the same day as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the U.S. debt for 2011 will be a record $1.5 trillion.

But Obama was undaunted, touring Orion Energy Systems with CEO Neal Verfuerth, who Obama praised for "playing to win."

"America needs to get behind entrepreneurs like Neal," Obama said. "We need to get behind clean-energy companies like Orion. We need to get behind innovation."

Doing so, Obama said, will ensure that his goal of making sure that 80 percent of America's energy comes from clean-energy sources by 2035 will be met.