In 2008, President Obama became the first Democratic candidate to win North Carolina since 1976. But this time around, polls have long shown that the purplish state is likely to return to its red roots. And since Mitt Romney clobbered Obama in the first presidential debate, the trend lines have only gotten gloomier for Team POTUS. It looks like Team Romney has all but wrapped things up in the Tar Heel State, says Peter Hamby at CNN:

In a clear sign the campaign is confident about putting North Carolina back in the Republican column this year, Mitt Romney's campaign is moving its spokesman out of the state and plans to shift more staffers out in the coming days.

The spokesman, Robert Reid, will be moved to Ohio, which is increasingly viewed by both campaigns as the central battleground of the 2012 race.

However, it appears that the Obama campaign still thinks it has a shot in the state, which began early voting on Thursday. "First Lady Michelle Obama visited North Carolina Tuesday," says Leigh Ann Caldwell at CBS News, "and the Obama campaign's 'gottavote' election bus has spent the last few days there to encourage people to vote early."