President Obama says the future of the U.S. is in the hands of North Carolina voters.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We don't win this election, potentially, if we don't win North Carolina," Obama said Wednesday at a rally for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAppeals court pauses 6-day extension for counting Wisconsin absentee ballots Trump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push Sunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates MORE in Chapel Hill, N.C.

"I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the Republic rests on your shoulders. The face of the world is teetering, and you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure that we push it in the right direction."  

Clinton is in a dead heat with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE in the Tar Heel State. Trump leads by two-tenths of a percentage point in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Obama made it clear later that he wasn't joking. 

"If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins. That's why I said the fate of the Republic rests on you. I wasn't joking." 

Obama won North Carolina in 2008 but lost it to GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.