ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The day after President Barack Obama charted an expansive new view of the government’s role in society, it seemed less and less likely that many of his proposals would survive the political riptide on Capitol Hill.
On Wednesday, as Obama took to the road and visited a Canadian engine-parts factory near here to sell his vision, Republicans and even some Democrats expressed doubt about whether plans to raise the minimum wage or provide universal access to prekindergarten would ever be enacted — especially on top of ambitious White House efforts on gun violence and immigration.
Obama chose a politically friendly corner of Republican-leaning North Carolina to promote the resurgence of American manufacturing, one of the central messages of a State of the Union speech that also included initiatives on education and energy.
“What’s happening here is happening all around the country," Obama said against a backdrop of three hulking engine blocks. “Just as it’s becoming more and more expensive to do business in places like China, America is getting more competitive."
The far-reaching nature of the president’s agenda took lawmakers from both parties by surprise, even though it built on his assertive Inaugural Address. Republicans, whose policies are focused on deficit reduction, reacted incredulously.
“It’s not like we’ve solved all of the problems we’re working on now so we have to be looking for other things," said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.