A day after delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, President Obama took his message on the road. Obama hoped that stops at manufacturing sites in Iowa and Arizona would drive home his point that the government should do more to encourage factory jobs.
The three-day trip also includes stops in Colorado, Nevada and Michigan. Those are all states likely to be important in the November election.
Obama kicked off his road trip at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing, a factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
This year's State of the Union address may have set a record for fewest surprises.
The usual elements were all in place, starting with the sergeant at arms shouting across the din of the chamber, quieting the crowd of worthies from both House and Senate, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court.
Then the president made his way down the center aisle, shaking hands with the members who had sent staff members to reserve these favored seats for hours for just this moment.
As the president delivered the final State of the Union address of his term before a looming re-election battle, he looked out at a sea of angry and skeptical Republicans who had fought him on budgets, government shutdowns, and whether or not to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
And what did President Bill Clinton do in 1996?
He delivered his "the era of big government is over" speech, which The Washington Post summed up this way: "Clinton Embraced GOP Themes in Setting Agenda."
Though millions of Americans watched the televised speech, the president's ostensible audience was right in front of him - Congress. His relations with many Republican lawmakers are icy at best. And even his alliances with Democrats had been put under stress at times in the past year.
The lawmakers' responses to the speech ranged from predictable to somewhat surprised. NPR's Andrea Seabrook listened to lawmakers after the speech.