WH: North Carolina trip ‘isn’t a campaign event’

The White House insisted Tuesday that President Obama's planned trip to North Carolina "isn't a campaign event" after Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) opted against joining the president on the visit to her home state.

"I think Sen. Hagan's office has addressed that. I think she's here working on important business," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

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A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Democrat, who faces a tough reelection battle this fall, told The Associated Press on Tuesday the senator will remain in Washington to attend to Senate business.

Republicans have suggested Hagan is ducking the president, who has seen his popularity in North Carolina slip with the troubled implementation of ObamaCare. He plans to speak about high tech manufacturing at an event Wednesday at North Carolina State University.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found that just 38 percent of North Carolinians approve of the healthcare law.

That same poll found that presumptive Republican front-runner state Speaker of House Thom Tillis had taken a small lead over Hagan in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.

Carney chastised reporters for "the urgent desire to turn every story 10 months out into an election story."

"We're certainly not looking at a visit designed to highlight the need to continue the progress we've made with advanced manufacturing as an issue of electoral politics," he said.

The White House spokesman also sidestepped questions about whether the president was concerned about being a "drag" on candidates up for reelection in 2014.

"All I can tell you is the president is traveling to North Carolina tomorrow," Carney said.