President Obama, in exclusive Marketplace interview, defended U.S.  investment in alternative energy and called for more investment in the nation's infrastructure. Above, host Kai Ryssdal checks his notes during interview at the Copper Mountain solar plant in Nevada desert.
President Obama, in exclusive Marketplace interview, defended U.S. investment in alternative energy and called for more investment in the nation's infrastructure. Above, host Kai Ryssdal checks his notes during interview at the Copper Mountain solar plant in Nevada desert. - 

On a two-day trip to promote his energy policy, President Obama told Marketplace in an exclusive interview that the U.S. must invest in alternative energy or cede leadership to China. He called on Congress to help create jobs by providing more aid to struggling homeowners and investing more in infrastructure.

Under attack by Republican critics for rising gas prices, the president is speaking to audiences in four states to argue for what he calls his "all of the above" energy policy: making the United States energy independent by developing all kinds of energy, drilling for oil and gas but also investing in alternative energies such as solar.

He came to Nevada to visit Boulder City, a city built by the government to house construction workers building the Hoover Dam. Today it's the site of the Copper Mountain solar plant, the largest operating solar generator in the country, powering 17,000 homes with the use of nearly one million solar panels. 

As Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal put it, the president was "kicking into economic campaign mode."

Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal