Indianapolis, Indiana (CNN) -- President Barack Obama took his push for clean energy on the road Friday, telling a group of factory workers in Indiana that America needs to accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels in order to remain economically competitive in the years ahead.
"If we can transition to new technologies, it's going to make a difference over the long term," Obama said. "There is nothing we cannot do so long as we put our mind to it."
The president made his remarks during a visit to Allison Transmission, a major transmission manufacturer now working with hybrid technology.
"This is where the American economy is rebuilding, where we are regaining our footing," Obama declared.
The president highlighted Friday's Labor Department employment report, which showed the country adding 244,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate, increased from 8.8% to 9%, ending a streak of four straight months of declines.
That rate, however, often increases as the job market improves and previously discouraged workers return to labor force.
Job growth has been strong since the beginning of the year, with 768,000 jobs added since January.
"There are still some folks who are struggling," the president acknowledged. But "this economic momentum ... is taking place all across the country."
Obama noted that gas prices, hovering around $4 per gallon, are "a headwind we've got to confront."
"We can't just drill our way out of the problem," he said, noting that America consumes a much larger share of the world's oil than it is capable of producing.
The president slammed continuing tax breaks and subsidies for large oil companies -- a constant Democratic refrain as gas prices have climbed in recent months.
While the death of Osama bin Laden has dominated the recent headlines, most political analysts believe the economy will be the dominant issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
Eight in ten Americans continue to say that the economy is in poor shape, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday. By a nearly a two-to-one ratio, however, they continue to blame the country's economic woes on George W. Bush rather than Obama.
CNN's Chris Isidore and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report