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North Carolina cools on President Obama

President Barack Obama jets off Friday for a weekend getaway to a funky corner of Appalachia in North Carolina, a state that boosted his presidential chances and now offers him a more tepid political embrace.

Obama will ponder his Supreme Court candidates, tee it up on the golf course and add a fresh presidential element to the hippie-hillbilly mix of Asheville. The last time Obama was in the place Rolling Stone once named the “freak capital” of the United States was October 2008. He was at the Grove Park Inn preparing for his second debate with Sen. John McCain, and at a rally that week he promised 25,000 cheering supporters he’d be back to see their city – or at least the golf course.

But a lot has changed since then. After voting to send a Democrat to the White House for the first time in 32 years, North Carolina isn’t so sure it wants Obama back in Washington – even if Democrats and Republicans agree he’s good for business.“We’re pleased that the president is vacationing in North Carolina,” said Russell Peck, executive director of the state Republican Party, before segueing to a dig. “Maybe if he spends money in the state, it will boost the state’s economy and create jobs, neither of which have been accomplished by his policies.”

While North Carolina Republicans feel emboldened by the national political climate, the state’s Democrats, once united by their support for Obama, are beginning to fracture. Obama’s approval rating has slid in the state he won by just 14,000 votes, hovering in the low 40s, according to some polls. Several House Democrats from North Carolina broke ranks with the White House in the health care vote. Their decision galvanized pro-labor Democrats to work to form a third party, North Carolina health insurance First, which could jeopardize Democrats’ congressional majority.

So perhaps it’s no coincidence that not a single elected official or candidate is expected to greet Obama on the tarmac after Air Force One touches down in the district of Rep. Heath Shuler – one of the 39 Democrats who voted against health care reform.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 8:23 am and is filed under Health Insurance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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