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Obama Takes State Of The Union Message To Wisconsin

File Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MANITOWOC, Wisc.) -- President Obama continued to press the themes of his State of the Union address Wednesday, telling workers at Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wis. that they exemplify the goals outlined in Tuesday night’s address to the nation.

“We need to get behind clean energy companies like Orion. We need to get behind innovation,” Obama said. “That’s how we’ll meet the goal I set last night and make sure 80 percent of America’s electricity comes from clean energy sources by 2035.”

“I came here to Manitowoc to glimpse that future,” the president declared.

Just as he did in his address Tuesday night, Obama harkened back to Sputnik, explaining “It was right here, almost 50 years ago -- I couldn’t have made this up. It wasn’t until I was on my way here that I found out that a chunk of metal came crashing down to the Earth right here.  I promise you, we did not plan this originally… It turns out that it was part of a satellite called Sputnik that landed right here, and that set the Space Race into motion.  So I want to say to you today that it is here, more than 50 years later, that the race for the 21st century will be won.”

However, Obama was blunt that the U.S. has some catching up to do. "China is making these investments.  They have already captured a big chunk of the solar market partly because we fell down on the job.  We weren’t moving as fast as we should have.  Those are jobs that could be created right here that are getting shipped.”

Orion is a solar and power technology company plus, as the president explained after touring their factory, “the plant is just very cool.”

The president praised the determination and hard work of Orion’s CEO Neal Verfuerth, and adopted his catch phrase “at Orion…we play to win.”

“That’s what sets Neal apart. That’s what sets Orion apart. But that’s also what sets America apart,” Obama explained. “Here in America, we play to win. We don’t play not to lose.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio