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10 things you need to know today: October 6, 2012
Romney closes the gap, American Airlines blames its seat snafu on passengers, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
President Barack Obama speaks to an crowd of almost 30,000 people at a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 4: The president benefited from some impressive jobs numbers on Oct. 5.
President Barack Obama speaks to an crowd of almost 30,000 people at a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 4: The president benefited from some impressive jobs numbers on Oct. 5.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

1. OBAMA SCORES GOOD JOBS NUMBERS; 'TRUTHERS' DOUBT THEM
President Obama — who has been pummeled with criticism this week for his shockingly listless and mediocre debate performance — got some good news on Friday: The unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. (The September jobless rate of 7.8 percent is the lowest number since Obama took office in January 2009.) But before the news could really set in, former GE CEO Jack Welch took to Twitter to accuse Obama of manipulating the jobs report for his own benefit. And he's not the only one: A host of other pundits on Twitter joined in to cast doubt on the numbers, despite the fact that the BLS vowed there there was no conspiracy. [The Week, CNBC]
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2. OBAMA'S LEAD NARROWS AFTER DEBATE FLOP
President Obama's lead over GOP hopeful Mitt Romney has narrowed to two percentage points, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday. Obama's lackluster debate performance is being blamed for the narrowing gap. Obama leads Romney 46 percent to 44 percent — and just two days ago, that lead was six points. Still, it remains to be seen if the debate fallout will have long-term effects on Obama's re-election prospects, as he has two more chances to redeem himself at debates on Oct. 16 and 22.  [Reuters]
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3. DISPUTED CALL CAUSES NEAR-RIOT AT MLB PLAYOFFS
In the first one-game wild-card playoff in Major League Baseball's long history, a disputed call caused a 19-minute delay in an ugly display in which fans in Atlanta covered the field in debris. The Atlanta Braves, who finished the season with an impressive 94-68 record, trailed the visiting St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning when the Braves' Andrelton Simmons blooped a pop fly into shallow left field. "The ball dropped harmlessly in the grass. The crowd roared, thinking the Atlanta Braves had loaded the bases with one out." But an umpire instead signaled that Simmons was out, citing (perhaps incorrectly) the infield fly rule. Fans went nuts, and the Cardinals went on to win 6-3. The Braves are now out of the playoffs, and the Cardinals will go on to play a best-of-five series against the Washington Nationals. In the league's other one-game playoff, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers. [Associated Press]

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4. ACCUSED TERRORIST ABU HAMZA EXTRADITED TO U.S.
Accused terrorist Abu Hamza, who has been linked to al Qaeda, is being extradited from the U.K. to the the U.S. following a years-long legal battle. The Egyptian-born 54-year-old is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly setting up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, and helping al Qaeda seize hostages in Yemen. The U.K. High Court rejected Abu Hamza's plea to delay his extradition so that he could undergo an MRI scan that would show that he is unfit for trial because of degenerative brain problems. Four other terror suspects will also be extradited. [Voice of America]
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5. ROMNEY ACCUSED OF SNEAKING NOTES INTO DEBATE
On Friday, an internet rumor suggested that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney snuck notes into his first debate with President Obama on Wednesday. A video circulated showing Romney removing what appeared to either be a piece of note paper or a napkin from his pocket and placing it on his podium at the start of the debate. Romney's campaign refuted the claim, saying that it was a handkerchief that Romney was using to dab sweat from his face. [Huffington Post
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6. AMERICAN BLAMES SEAT SNAFU ON PASSENGERS
Attention American Airlines frequent flyers: Your coffee and soda spills are apparently what's causing seats on the airlines' planes to come loose mid-flight. On Friday, a spokeswoman for American said that spilled liquids have "gunked up" the seat locking mechanism on some of its 757s. In the past two weeks, seats on at least three American flights have come loose, causing two flights to be diverted, and dozens of flights to be canceled. [CNN]
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7. VENEZUELANS WARY OF ELECTION TROUBLE
Venezuelans packed supermarkets on Friday to amass food and other essentials in case of trouble over Sunday's presidential election, which is "shaping up as the biggest challenge of Hugo Chavez's 14-year rule." Young challenger Henrique Capriles has gained momentum in the closing days of the campaign, and he may the the opposition's best chance of unseating Chavez. But citizens worry that tight results could bring about accusations of voter fraud and protests. [Reuters]
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8. BOY SCOUT DENIED TOP RANK FOR BEING GAY
Ryan Andresen, a 17-year-old Boy Scout from the San Francisco area, has been denied the organization's highest award of Eagle Scout because he's gay, says his mother. She has started an online petition on her son's behalf because she says he has worked toward the Eagle rank for 12 years, and the scoutmaster for his troop has denied it to him because of his sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts have a long-standing policy that excludes those who are openly gay. The organization issued a statement saying that Ryan "does not agree to scouting's principle of 'Duty to God' and does not meet scouting's membership standard on sexual orientation." [NPR]
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9. STUDY: FREE BIRTH CONTROL TAMPS ABORTION RATES
According to a study by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, when women were given free birth control of their choice, they were much less likely to get an abortion. Because women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies, there were 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study — much fewer than the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women. "Changes in contraceptive policy simulating the Contraceptive Choice Project would prevent as many as 41 percent to 71 percent of abortions performed annually in the United States," the study's authors wrote. [TIME]
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10. ANN ROMNEY TO CO-HOST GMA
Ann Romney, the wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is co-hosting ABC's Good Morning America on Oct. 10, just under a month before the Nov. 6 election. Mrs. Romney is one of a slate of guest hosts to fill in for Robin Roberts, who is out on medical leave to fight a rare blood disease. Ann will sit alongside co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, a Clinton administration veteran. ABC News is reportedly negotiating with First Lady Michelle Obama to co-host before the election as well. [Hollywood Reporter]

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