These events featured similar patterns but with much different results in central NC. A PDF provides an initial comparison of the two events. An event summary of the November 15, 2008 Killer Tornado Outbreak is also available.
In many aspects, the events were very similar with the synoptic upper air and surface pattern. One obvious difference between the two events is a much greater amount of surface based CAPE in the 11/15 case then the 12/02 event which would obviously support more surface based convection and allow a storm to utilize the surface instability and drive a circulation to the surface. A review of the radar imagery shows that at the time of the tornadoes in central NC, the convection during the 11/15 event was not embedded in a large convective rain shield as was the case with the 12/02 event. In addition, the 11/15 tornadic supercells were long lived, originating in SC in a region of similar instability to that over eastern NC where they eventually produced tornadoes. I believe the 1988 Raleigh Tornado was spawned by a long lived supercell originating in SC. More recently, on March 28, 2010, a long lived supercell produced 4 tornadoes in the western Piedmont of North Carolina with the first tornado touching down just north of the South Carolina state line.