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October 6, 2017
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The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs in September due to the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Labor Department reported Friday. It was the first monthly employment decline in seven years. Economists had expected employment to take a temporary hit from the storms, but they still expected a gain of about 75,000 non-farm jobs, down from 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate was not affected by the hurricanes, and dropped from 4.4 percent to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since December 2000. Average wages edged up by 12 cents to $26.55 an hour, while the average work week remained unchanged at 34.4 hours. Harold Maass

4:42 a.m. ET

This week, for some reason, the internet went crazy over a rumor that first lady Melania Trump has a body double. "Do you have any idea how dumb that sounds?" Jordan Klepper scoffed on Thursday's The Opposition. "Of course Melania has a body double. We free thinkers have known that for years." In fact, "body doubles are everywhere in politics," and have been since Queen Elizabeth I invented them, Klepper said, with much more elaboration and a few examples.

But "this Melania body-double thing is trying to throw you off the scent, like a perfume that tells lies," Klepper said. "The big story? The double that is happening in health care." He noted Trump's rapid flip-flopping on whether he supports the bipartisan Alexander-Murray health care bill. "I know what you're thinking — Trump's body double went off-book. Shut up, that's absurd — Trump doesn't have a body double. They're not ready yet; they've been only growing beneath the Arizona desert for nine months, give them time."

"No, Trump is using an even more advanced technique: the opinion double," Klepper explained. "You see, opinion doubles let Trump occupy multiple stances on health care at the same time. They allow you to play to whichever room you happen to be in. If you have every opinion, you are guaranteed to be right — it's brilliant." If body doubles and opinion doubles are real, Klepper said, bipartisanship isn't. "You think politicians are going to work with their enemies just to help Americans? What's the catch?" And he had the conspiracy theory to prove his point. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:48 a.m. ET

The National Weather Service issued its forecast for the winter on Thursday, and most of the U.S. should expect warmer-than-average temperatures, on the assumption that a weak La Niña weather pattern develops in the Pacific. While the lower two-thirds of the U.S., Hawaii, and the northern and western parts of Alaska will be unusually warm, said Mike Halpert of the Climate Prediction Center, there will also be "greater-than-average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies, with less-than-average snowfall throughout the Mid-Atlantic region" and a dry winter across the south.

If the forecasts of a warmer-than-average winter are true, it would be the third one in a row — last winter was the sixth warmest on record, and the one before that the warmest ever recorded, The Washington Post notes. "We're not anticipating the kind of record warmth we've seen the last two winters," Halpert told reporters, though "the odds of seeing three Top 10 [warmest winters in a row] is reduced, not eliminated." The warming climate from greenhouse gasses "does, undoubtedly, play a role" in the warm winters, he added, but the "driving force" this year is the La Niña.

The forecast is seasonal and doesn't preclude cold fronts or snowstorms anywhere, Halpert cautioned, and there's only a 55 percent 65 percent chance of a La Niña developing. Peter Weber

2:22 a.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama, stumping for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam in Richmond on Thursday evening, alluded to August's violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, 70 miles up I-64. That rally was ostensibly organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

"We've got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry" for political gain, Obama said. "We shouldn't use the most painful parts of our history just to score political points. ... We don't rise up by repeating the past, we rise up by learning form the past." He then mentioned that he is "an eighth or ninth or tenth or something cousin removed from Jefferson Davis," the head of the Confederacy. "Think about that." And lest you think he was bragging about his ancestry, Obama had a parting shot: "I'll bet he's spinning in his grave."

On Tuesday, the PTA president of a predominantly black public school in Jackson, Mississippi, said that the school stakeholders had voted to change the name, Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary, after Jefferson Davis, to Obama Magnet IB Elementary. "Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him," the PTA president, Janelle Jefferson, told the Jackson School Board. The change will take effect next school year. Peter Weber

2:19 a.m. ET
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Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) is defending herself against remarks made Thursday by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, saying she never stood up during the dedication of an FBI building and claimed to have secured funding for the project.

"He shouldn't be able to just say that, that is terrible," she told the Miami Herald. "This has become totally personal." On Tuesday, Wilson said Trump made "insensitive" comments to the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four soldier killed in Niger earlier this month. She knew Johnson through her mentoring program, and was with the Johnson family when Trump called. Johnson's family has backed up Wilson's version of events, but Kelly, in a press conference Thursday to try to clarify Trump's statements, also went after Wilson, calling her an "empty barrel."

Kelly claimed that during an April 2015 ceremony dedicating an FBI building in Florida, Wilson stood up and "talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building" and said she "just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down." Wilson told the Miami Herald this is patently false, seeing as how the funding was secured before she joined Congress. She did sponsor legislation, signed three days before the ceremony, to name the building after Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, two FBI agents killed in 1986. During the ceremony, Wilson was praised by then-FBI Director James Comey, who in his remarks said "Rep. Wilson truly did the impossible, and we are eternally grateful." Catherine Garcia

1:27 a.m. ET
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In order to serve his fellow veterans, Josue Guerrero-Urbine would travel up to 200 miles a day by bus, boarding before the sun was up and coming home long after it set. Now that he's been surprised with a new car, he'll be able to reach even more people, a whole lot faster.

Guerrero-Uribe was in the Marine Corps for eight years, and when he came home from a tour in Iraq, he was depressed and didn't want to talk to anyone. He became involved with a nonprofit called The Mission Continues, which assists veterans who are having a hard time as they transition out of the service, and it made such a difference in his life that he became part of their outreach. "The Mission Continues gave me an option and opportunity to get out of my negative self and put my energy onto more positive things that help my community," he told NBC Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, Guerrero-Uribe was standing in a Costa Mesa, California, parking lot when a car drove up, and to his shock, he was handed the keys. Having reliable transportation changes everything for Guerrero-Uribe, and his colleague Allison Bailey said it's the perfect gift for someone always willing to help others. "You know that if you ever pick up the phone and ask for anything, you know he's going to do it and he's going to do it with passion and heart," she told NBC Los Angeles. Catherine Garcia

1:09 a.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) opened his speech at the 72nd annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City on Thursday night with a joke about President Trump. "Please, enough with the applause," he said. "You sound like the Cabinet when Donald Trump walks into the room." He kept going from there.

The white-tie dinner, a fundraiser for the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, hosted by the Catholic archbishop of New York, is typically a bipartisan political roast, and the world lost out on the Democratic jokes from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), who had to cancel his appearance to vote against the Senate GOP budget resolution.

Trump — whose speech at the 2016 Al Smith Dinner was uncomfortably sharp-elbowed and defensive, as Ryan alluded to in one of his jokes — wasn't the only target for Ryan and his joke writers. Ryan also poked fun at Hillary Clinton ("I'm from Wisconsin. It's a great state to visit in the fall. Looking back, someone should have told Hillary"), Stephen Bannon ("Steve Bannon said I was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation. This is amazing — no one knew Steve believed in science"), himself ("Every afternoon, former Speaker John Boehner calls me up. Not to give advice. Just to laugh"), and his methods for surviving the Trump presidency ("Every morning, I wake up in my office and scroll Twitter to see which tweets I will have to pretend that I didn't see later"). You can read more of his one-liners at NBC News. Peter Weber

12:31 a.m. ET
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Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Thursday for Democrats running for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and told voters to reject the "old politics of division" that date back centuries. "It's the 21st century," he said, "not the 19th century. Come on!"

This was his first time out stumping since he left the White House, and Obama warned of people who "demonize" those who don't agree with them in order to "get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage." While speaking in Virginia on behalf of Ralph Northam, Obama was focused on his opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, but his comments could also apply to Trump. "If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern," he said, and it's especially difficult to "unite them later if that's how you start."

In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy is doing well in the polls, but Obama, with a nod to 2016, told a crowd in Newark, "You can't take this election or any election for granted — I don't know if you all noticed that. You've got to run through the tape." Thousands waited in line in New Jersey and Virginia to attend the rallies, and Obama was interrupted at one point during the Northam event with chants of "Four more years!" He quipped, "I refer you both to the Constitution, as well as to Michelle Obama, to explain why that won't happen." Catherine Garcia

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