Obama to visit North Carolina, but this time it's no vacation

McClatchy NewspapersDecember 1, 2010 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will travel to the Winston-Salem area on Monday for an official event related to the economy, his first trip to North Carolina since his party, in his words, took a "shellacking" in the mid-term election.

The White House refused to release further details about the event.

It will be Obama’s fourth trip to North Carolina since he became president.

His last visit to the Tar Heel state was in April, a largely off-the-record weekend vacation in Asheville with his wife, Michelle.

A few weeks before that trip, he came to Charlotte to tout the health reform bill.

With two years before the next presidential election, North Carolina remains a politically important state for Obama. He won here narrowly in 2008.

Republicans have done better since then, taking over the state General Assembly in November.

But in Congress, the state lost just one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge of Lillington, who suffered defeat in his largely rural district to tea party activist Renee Ellmers.

In North Carolina, Obama remains in a close race with four potential GOP candidates, according to a survey released Monday by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm in Raleigh.

Obama remains statistically tied with Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, according to the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus

The same survey showed a 45 percent job approval rating for Obama in the state, with 51 percent disapproving.

On Monday, Obama will head to the hometown of Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, who easily won a second term in November. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is from the neighboring city of Greensboro.

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