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

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"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 ClintonGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family 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 TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election 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.