President Barack Obama touted hybrid technology and the role he expects it will play in decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil in a stop at Allison Transmission on Indianapolis' west side on Friday.The president began speaking before crowd of hundreds at the plant at about 12:10 p.m. in a speech that lasted about 20 minutes.
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Obama highlighted Allison's hybrid technology and talked about his plan to curb the nation's usage of foreign oil. The stage inside the factory was flanked by a long black bus and a commercial truck outfitted with Allison-made hybrid transmission systems, with racks filled with those transmissions as a backdrop."America's economy is always going to rely on outstanding manufacturing, where we make stuff," Obama said. "That's what Allison's all about."Obama originally planned to visit Allison Transmission last month, but that visit was postponed as Congress was locked in a contentious budget battle.The president toured the facility and talked to workers about his long-term plan to invest in clean energy technologies.The White House said Obama chose Allison because the company is a leader in hybrid technology used in medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, such as buses and military vehicles."This is the kind of company that makes sure America remains the most prosperous country of the world," Obama said.In 2009, Allison received more than $62 million in federal stimulus dollars for the project."Last month, you added 50 jobs at this company, and I hear you plan to add another 200 over the next two years. We're very proud of that," Obama said."Certainly, we are pleased to have ourselves brought into the spotlight and our technology. We've been working hard at it to bring product to market," said Larry Dewey, Allison Transmission CEO, in an interview with 6News on Thursday. "We've been in the hybrid business since 2003, but we are bringing out some new products in the hybrid space, as well as some other fuel-efficient technologies."There is also likely some political motivation for Obama's appearance in Indiana. The president won the state in 2008 by less than 30,000 votes, and Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is contemplating a presidential run, could be considered a top contender for the Republican nomination.Air Force One touched down a little after 11 a.m. Obama paused to speak with Daniels, U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, Butler basketball coach Brad Stevens, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood before leaving Indianapolis International Airport.