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Romney pressures Obama on Libya

Republicans have pressed the Obama administration over the deadly attack on US diplomats in Libya, hoping to weaken the president three days before a final debate with rival Mitt Romney that will focus on foreign policy.

The race to the November 6 election remains close, and it was not clear whether the shrinking number of undecided voters would be swayed by an overseas issue while worrying about the economy at home, which remains weak.

Mr Obama got some good news as a new report said unemployment rates fell slightly last month in nearly all of the battleground states that will determine the election. Voters will get one more update on the national unemployment rate, which now is 7.8%, just days before the election.

The presidency is decided in state-by-state contests, not a national popular vote. Some 41 of the 50 states are essentially already decided, and the candidates have taken the fight to the remaining nine, which include Ohio and Florida.

Mr Romney's team focused on Libya, following reports that Mr Obama's administration could have known early on that militants, not angry protesters, launched the attack that killed the US ambassador there.

Within 24 hours of the attack, the CIA station chief in Libya told Washington about eyewitness reports that the attack was carried out by militants, officials said.

"What we see in front of us is the absolute unravelling of the Obama administration's foreign policy," Mr Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, told WTAQ radio in the election battleground state of Wisconsin.

Mr Obama, speaking on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, insisted that information was shared with the American people as it came in. The attack is under investigation, Mr Obama said, and "the picture eventually gets filled in".

The report from the CIA station chief was written on Wednesday, September 12, and reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day, intelligence officials said.

It is not clear how widely the information was circulated. US intelligence officials have said the information was just one of many widely conflicting accounts, which became clearer by the following week.

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