Obama to speak at Las Vegas UPS hub on Thursday

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will speak at a United Parcel Service hub in Las Vegas on Thursday, seeking to shore up his standing in Nevada through a speech aimed at workers and the middle class.

The UPS freight facility near McCarran International Airport will serve as a midpoint in a three-day trip Obama is making to five key states after his State of the Union speech tonight to a joint session of Congress, the White House announced Monday.

The nationally televised address will enable Obama to present themes to characterize his fourth year in office and an opening sales pitch in his campaign to win re-election. Then he will hit the road to further plant his messages.

On Wednesday, Obama will appear at a machinery manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, then travel to Intel Corp.'s semiconductor plant in Chandler, Ariz.

Obama will fly into McCarran International Airport early Wednesday evening. He will stay overnight in Las Vegas and appear at UPS Las Vegas South, on East Arby Lane near the airport, for a midmorning speech on Thursday. It was the only announced event for Obama's time in Southern Nevada.

The White House gave no indication whether his speech will be open to the public or limited to guests and news media. Obama is scheduled to leave Las Vegas late morning Thursday for Denver and then Detroit.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that Obama during his travel this week will talk about values and "American manufacturing, American energy and skill for American workers."

Obama previewed those themes, he said, in a speech he delivered last month in Osawatomie, Kan. In a speech noted for its strong populist overtones, Obama in Kansas warned against growing income inequality as he placed himself squarely as a champion of the middle class.

"At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement." he said in the address.

Republicans have scoffed at the trip.

"Nevadans need a president focused on their jobs, not a campaigner-in-chief solely focused on his own re-election," said Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. "Barack Obama should be more focused on getting Nevada's economy back on track and putting the millions of unemployed Americans back to work, instead of constantly campaigning on the taxpayers' dime."

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.