PALM BEACH, Fla. – A new poll shows Barack Obama trailing likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney in North Carolina – home of the upcoming Democratic Convention – by eight percentage points, and that has some Republicans seeing hope for ousting the incumbent, but also fearful of a late-year Obama surprise.

Among them is conservative giant Rush Limbaugh, who warned, “I wouldn’t rule out something happening wherever the Democrat Convention is. I don’t know what it would be.”

“As president, Obama can do a lot of things later on in the year,” he continued. “He can pull all kinds of rabbits out of his hat.”

“Obama sometime this summer, October, could decide to forgive all student loans to get the youth vote. He can do that, he could propose it. It doesn’t have to happen. He can say he wants it just like he said he hopes one day that same-sex people can get married. …

“He can say he wants to forgive people’s mortgages and may come up with a program that pays everybody’s mortgage that’s under water. …

“They could replace Biden on the ticket with somebody. They could invade Iran. They could tell the Israelis to stand aside. There’s any number of things in the incumbent playbook that you can do at the last moment.”

But Limbaugh opined that any proposal like that “would not have broad-based appeal because it would be such a reach. It’d be so obvious what it is. That doesn’t say he couldn’t try.”

Limbaugh also said today’s Rasmussen poll is very good news for Republicans: “I’m telling you that Obama is in deep trouble. The Democrat Party is in deep trouble here.”

“This is not at all where they thought they would be,” he added. “The problems that they have are not at all the problems they thought they were going to have. They really believed that they could re-create this whole Messianic-type mindset that people had for Obama from 2008. They really thought they could simply tie Romney to Bush and send people running back to Obama in droves.”

The radio host took issue with a prevailing notion among some media that Obama and his fellow Democrats are brilliant political strategists.

“They are not the smartest people in the world. Liberals, Democrats, strategists are not the smartest people in the world,” he said.

Besides the poll results in North Carolina, Limbaugh noted Democrats are pulling political ads in Missouri and yanking their money out of Wisconsin in the recall effort of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“That is an indication that they think the die is cast,” Limbaugh said, while at the same time stressing, “I don’t want to run the risk here of creating any overconfidence.”

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