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Team Obama: N.C. gone. Is Virginia next?

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Facing a Mitt Romney surge in North Carolina polls, Team Obama is poised to pull back forces in the state that hosted the Democratic National Convention and Democratic advisors suggest that Virginia may be next to fall.

While Obama aides on the ground in both states reject suggestions the campaign has given up to devote more resources to Iowa, Ohio and Florida, those close to the Obama campaign say it's getting to be time to cut bait.

Democratic strategist Paul Begala, asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer if the Obama campaign has given up on North Carolina, said "Yes. I'm not supposed to say that Wolf. I work for the pro-Obama super PAC, so I'm being paid to help reelect the president, but if you look at where he's going and where he's spending money, yes, it looks like Governor Romney is likely to carry North Carolina."

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll had Romney leading Obama by 6 percent and trending upward. What's more, North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008, does not appear on the new list of Obama battleground states.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel agrees. He told the Tampa Bay Times that Romney is likely to win North Carolina. A campaign aide told a Washington Post blogger, however, that the campaign is doing well in early voting and is not withdrawing any campaign troops.

Pollster John Zogby told Secrets that while Obama looks to be giving up on North Carolina, it is still winnable. "North Carolina should be in play, but Obama is pulling out, never a good vibe to send to voters. He is competitive, has a large and growing African-American and creative class base, and a small and growing Latino vote. He is underperforming but I never understand the 'throwing in the towel' thing. Sends wrong message."

The president still remains committed to Virginia, but polls in the Old Dominion are now starting to show a small Romney lead. The president does have a trip planned to Virginia, but NBC political guru Chuck Todd said Monday, "Virginia may be slipping away from the Democrats, tilting a little more to Romney."

The campaign could be sensing that, judging from their shrinking spending on TV advertising.

Weekly Obama For America Virginia TV spend (broadcast & cable)

10/1/12

$4,172,263

10/8/12

$2,754,172

10/15/12

$2,570,595