Barack Obama could lose Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina and still win the Electoral College in 2012 as long as he holds onto every other state he won in 2008. But New Hampshire will be tough if Romney's the nominee, and Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada are swing states. So if he wants a cushion, a natural place for him to look is actually the state he won by the narrowest margin in 2008: North Carolina.

There are many signs that Obama's playing hard for North Carolina, including his holding the convention in Charlotte, but here's a new one: the Obama administration's Export-Import Bank subsidy agency just approved a $638 million direct loan to Saudi Arabia in order to subsidize a Siemens plant in North Carolina. Ex-Im states:

The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States at its Thursday (Jan. 5) meeting approved a $638 million direct loan to finance the sale by Siemens Energy, Inc. of gas and steam turbines to be installed in Saudi Arabia.

The announcement comes today as President Obama hosts a forum at the White House with CEOs of large and small companies to discuss efforts to bring jobs back to America. As part of this forum, the President will meet with business leaders to discuss the advantages of manufacturing in the United States and what can be done to encourage more companies to insource American jobs.

Duke Energy, also based in North Carolina, is another major beneficiary of Obama administration national-industrial policy, including nuclear-power loan guarantees, renewable-energy subsidies, and cap-and-trade proposals (making it a bit unseemly that Duke is financing Obama's convention).

This is much of Obama's reelection strategy: pick strategically important companies, subsidize them, and tout job creation.