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JAMESTOWN — North Carolina and Virginia are two Southern states at the heart of President Obama’s re-election strategy.

Mr. Obama won the states in a surprise in 2008, and his campaign is doubling down in the region, hoping to turn to changing demographics as a way to offset potential losses in traditional swing states.

The president is in the middle of a three-day bus trip through North Carolina and Virginia even as polls show his challenges there. A recent Elon University poll put the president’s approval rating in North Carolina at 42 percent, and a Quinnipiac University poll had it at 45 percent in Virginia.

Democrats are keying on the region. The party will hold its convention in Charlotte, N.C., next summer.


Axelrod: Obama had to take case to the people

A senior political adviser is defending President Obama’s campaign-style travels to sell his jobs program, saying the president is “out there because the only people who are going to move these Republicans are the American people.”

Speaking to MSNBC Tuesday, David Axelrod said Mr. Obama’s re-election effort was always going to be difficult. He said that “by definition,” the 2012 campaign will be rough because Mr. Obama came into office amid economic hard times and wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Axelrod also accused House Republican leaders of being “in the thralls of extremists” and said Mr. Obama had no choice but to go outside Washington with his arguments.

He said even though Democrats had “all the wind at our back the last time,” 47 percent of the American people still voted for someone else.


Reid backs Nevada’s early caucus date

LAS VEGASSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid is endorsing Nevada’s jump ahead in the Republican presidential nominating calendar and is telling New Hampshire to back off.

A Reid aide told the Associated Press Tuesday that Nevada Democrats will also move their caucus date to Jan. 14 in solidarity with Nevada Republicans, and state Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange confirmed the change in date.

Mr. Reid is hoping to persuade Nevada Republicans to preserve their date despite a call from New Hampshire leaders to delay the contest. New Hampshire’s secretary of state is threatening to hold the state’s primary in early December unless Nevada moves its caucuses back.

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