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Boost for Obama as jobless rate dips

A strong US jobs report has given US President Barack Obama an upbeat end to a startling week for both presidential campaigns.

Meanwhile Republican challenger Mitt Romney finally addressed his disparaging remarks about the 47pc of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes, calling his words "just completely wrong".

The US government's new jobs report showed that the country's unemployment rate fell to 7.8pc last month, dropping below 8pc for the first time in nearly four years. Unemployment had been at 8.1pc.

The report broke an important psychological barrier before the November 6 election. No president has been re-elected with unemployment above 8pc since the Great Depression.

The report had the potential to swing momentum back to the president after he suffered through a weak first debate against Mr Romney on Wednesday night.

Mr Romney's campaign had been hit hard by the secretly taped remarks that emerged last month, in which he said he could not convince nearly half the country to "take personal responsibility" for their lives.

He slipped behind Mr Obama in some of the key battleground states that will decide the election as people again worried that the multimillionaire was out of touch with average Americans.