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Mr. Timmons said cutting the corporate tax rate for manufacturers to 25 percent is only a start — Canada’s tax rate is 15 percent — and that Mr. Obama’s push for higher taxes on wealthy individuals conflicts with the goal of helping the manufacturing industry.

“We cannot forget that two-thirds of manufacturers pay taxes as individuals, through S-corporations,” Mr. Timmons said. “So when the president and others ask for more money from individual taxpayers and incite the specter of class warfare, they are specifically targeting manufacturers and others in the productive private sector.”

The head of the manufacturers association credited Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, for policies that encourage job growth, such as the state’s right-to-work law that Mr. Obama opposed.

“Whether through tax reform or, recently, adoption of a right-to-work law, policymakers can create a climate that generates growth,” Mr. Timmons said.

The president intends to cobble money from the Defense and Energy departments to start up three pilot manufacturing “innovation institutes” this year, but he said the public needs to pressure Congress to pass the full $1 billion appropriation.

“I’m doing what I can just through administrative action, but I need Congress to do their part,” Mr. Obama said. “I need Congress to take up these initiatives.”

Linamar is a Canadian-owned firm that opened its operation in North Carolina after Volvo closed a factory and laid off 228 workers. The president is advocating a style of public-private partnerships modeled after the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.

Mr. Sperling said Fraunhofer’s example has been “very successful.”

“In Germany, they have 60 [institutes]; there’s no reason that we should not be able to try to get 15 or 20 in the next couple of years,” Mr. Sperling said. “I think we are catching up with the rest of the world. They have people competing like this, we need to be doing the same.”

The North Carolina stop was Mr. Obama’s first of three this week to sell the public on initiatives he outlined in the State of the Union address. He will visit an early-childhood education center Thursday in Decatur, Ga., and then travel to his home base of Chicago on Friday.