By Linh Bui

LANHAM, Md. (WJZ) — President Barack Obama took his State of the Union address on the road, bringing his message directly to the public. He kicked things off Wednesday morning right here in Maryland.

Linh Bui had more on the president’s visit.

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The president spoke for about 25 minutes inside Costco. He’s on a tour to push his State of the Union agenda and he made Maryland his very first stop.

President Obama shopped for support while touring a Lanham Costco. He’s seeking opportunity for all, starting with the minimum wage.

“It’s time to give America a raise,” he said.

In Congress, there’s a bill to lift the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. The president supports similar efforts in Maryland.

“Governor O’Malley is trying to do it here in Maryland and lift the minimum wage to $10.10. He says, `We all do better when we’re all doing better,'” Obama said. “He’s right.”

The president got support from the crowd, most of them Costco employees.

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“You get better quality people. They want to work hard for the company because they get the good benefits, they get the good pay,” said Costco employee David Ulbig.

President Obama chose Costco for a reason. Employees there make on average $20 an hour and start at $11.50 an hour.

“We do really get paid a good amount. Their benefits are excellent. And if other people can get the same thing, it could really boost our economy,” said Costco employee Krhistine Jones.

President Obama calls it a “real solution” to help working and middle class Americans.

“If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids. If you put in a hard day’s work, you deserve decent pay for it. That’s a principle everybody understands, everybody believes,” Obama said.

The president is on a two-day tour. On Thursday, he heads to Wisconsin and then Tennessee.

The president has also promised to sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for some government contract workers.

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Linh Bui