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 ClintonFarrow: Clinton staff raised concerns over Weinstein reporting Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report The Memo: Once the front-runner, Biden now vulnerable 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 TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' 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.