by: Jim Bradley Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. - For years, North Carolina has been friendly turf for President Barack Obama. He found a warm welcome again Wednesday. Just two weeks before his State of the Union address, the president visited Raleigh.
He first toured a high-tech manufacturing plant then went to the campus of NC State University. On campus the president announced NCSU will play a lead role in developing a manufacturing hub in Raleigh that will seek to create next generation semiconductors.
"Let's make America the No. 1 place in the world to open new businesses and create new jobs," the president said. "America's newest high tech manufacturing hub is going to be based right here in Raleigh, N.C."
The announcement drew a standing ovation.
One of the first to stand was Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
McCrory surprised many by going to the airport to welcome Obama when he stepped off Air Force One. He says while he disagrees with the White House in ongoing disputes over Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps, he fully supports Obama's plan to create manufacturing jobs.
"I told him I want to build a relationship. If I can form partnerships with the president and NCSU to increase the amount of manufacturing jobs in North Carolina, I'm going to do it," McCrory said.
In a 25-minute speech, the president also talked about issues likely to come up in his State of the Union address. He repeatedly called for job creation to help the middle class.
"That's what we do. When things get tough we don't give up. We get up. We innovate. We adapt. We keep going. We look to the future," he said.