Nightly News | February 13, 2013
>>> president obama took last night's state of the union message on the economy on the road today to north carolina . but back in washington, the ideas he put forward are falling flat with republicans. our report tonight from white house correspondent peter alexander .
>> reporter: road testing his new economic plan on a day trip to north carolina , president obama toured this auto parts plant near asheville, canadian company expanding its operations here.
>> i believe in manufacturing. i think it makes our country stronger.
>> reporter: republicans today charged mr. obama's speech last night, rehashed the same old partisan rhetoric.
>> another retread of lip service and liberalism. for a democratic president entering his second term, it was simply unequal to the moment.
>> reporter: the president used the first state of the union of his second term to lay out an ambitious agenda.
>> it is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government --
>> reporter: with calls to combat climate change through the use of cleaner energy, provide high-quality preschool for every child in america. and raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. the white house says would affect 15 million americans. but it's a move republicans insist would hamper growth.
>> at a time when the american people are still asking the question where are the jobs, why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?
>> reporter: but tuesday night's emotional high points --
>> countless other communities ripped open by gun violence , they deserve a simple vote.
>> reporter: the president's personal appeal on behalf of the victims of gun violence . like the parents of 15-year-old hadiya pendelton, who attended last month's inaugural.
>> she was shot and killed in a chicago park after school. just a mile away from my house.
>> reporter: mr. obama closing with a simple refrain.
>> gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. the families of aurora deserve a vote.
>> reporter: brian, also tonight, a setback for the president's pick for defense secretary , chuck hagel , because of continued republican opposition. hagel will need 60 votes to be confirmed, not the usual simple majority . that's the first time that's ever happened for a defense secretary nominee. that vote showdown will happen before the end of this week.
>> peter alexander at the white house for us tonight. peter,