Barack Obama's presidential campaign is halting its television advertising in North Carolina and six other states next week while the Democratic convention is being held.
The campaign of Republican John McCain immediately questioned whether the Obama campaign was pulling out of states where it was losing support.
But an Obama spokesman said the suspension of the advertising was not a signal of any lessening of interest in North Carolina.
"The Obama campaign is committed to North Carolina and nothing shows that more than that Sen. Obama was here on Tuesday and Wednesday," said Paul Cox, a spokesman for Obama in North Carolina.
Cox confirmed that the Obama campaign was suspending its ads in North Carolina, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota and Virginia. Those states have tended to lean Republican in presidential contests, and Obama's efforts there represented a gamble.
Some of those states, particularly Florida and Virginia, are almost certain to be battleground states in the fall.
Officials with Obama's national campaign have told several news organizations that the advertising is being suspended for the duration of the National Democratic Convention next week.
Obama has spent $2.4 million in advertising in North Carolina since the primaries, according to figures provided by the McCain campaign. While recent polls have shown the race competitive in North Carolina, Obama has not been able to gain ground.
McCain has not begun advertising in the state, although viewers may have seen some advertising that was part of national advertising buys.
The McCain campaign distributed a memorandum asking whether Obama's pulling of the ads represented a shift in strategy.
"Is the Obama campaign planning to close down offices in states they have initially targeted?" asked the McCain campaign.
But Cox noted that the Obama campaign has 16 offices in the state and dozens of staffers who are organizing the state and registering voters. He said there is no plan to cut any of those efforts.
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