During a visit Wednesday to Asheville, N.C., Obama promoted his ideas on creating jobs and closing the income gap between the wealthiest and middle-income Americans. The president used a retrofitted former Volvo plant to make a case for proposals designed to encourage companies that have operated overseas to bring back jobs to the U.S.
"We're seeing this trend of what we call insourcing, not just outsourcing," Obama said. "And the reason is because America has got outstanding workers. We're starting to produce more homegrown energy, which is driving down our energy costs. And, obviously, we've still got the biggest market in the world. And if we try to improve our infrastructure a little bit more, then we're going to be even that much more competitive."
The president also used his State of the Union address to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration legislation with a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants and hold votes on a series of gun-control measures introduced following the shootings of 20 school children in Newtown, Conn.
Boehner has been noncommittal on his position on key components of both proposals.
On immigration, Boehner told the AP that he was "encouraged" by bipartisan congressional efforts to address immigration reform. But he refused to take a position on providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, including for young people who were brought to the country illegally.
"I'm not getting myself locked into a corner on what I'm for or what I'm against," he said.
On gun control, Boehner wouldn't commit to holding votes on universal background checks or bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Instead, he focused on exploring the link between mass shootings and mental health.
"What I don't want to be is parceled into some political stunt that has no impact on the problem," Boehner said.
Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.