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KNOW IT ALL: Thursday's Top 7 Stories at NBC News

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Good morning. Here are some of the stories we're following today:

1. Five Takeaways From the Feisty GOP Debate

In the third GOP debate, ascendant candidates Ben Carson and Marco Rubio seemed to survive a showdown with their opponents. But for other candidates, it was a dull night — although by the end, everyone shared the same target: the allegedly biased media. Read more in POLITICS.

2. Bush-Rubio Feud Boils Over on Stage

The long brewing feud between Florida rivals Rubio and Jeb Bush reached a fever pitch when the former governor went after the young senator for missing votes while running for president. Read more in POLITICS.

3. House Passes Sweeping Two-Year Bipartisan Budget Deal

After years of gridlock and frequent threats of government shutdowns over funding levels, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal cut between congressional leadership and the White House. Seventy-nine Republicans joined every House Democrat in passing the bill. Read more in NEWS.

4. Runaway Military Blimp Grounded in Pennsylvania

An unmanned Army surveillance blimp broke free of its mooring at a Maryland proving ground Wednesday and drifted more than 120 miles north into Pennsylvania, dragging a long tether that knocked out power to thousands. Read more in NEWS.

5. Should Missouri Execute Inmate With Hole in Brain?

Ernest Johnson, a 55-year-old death row inmate, is days away from execution, but he is arguing that his life should be spared because a brain tumor that left a hole in his head could cause seizures during a lethal injection. Read more in NEWS.

6. Two-Thirds of the World Has the Herpes Virus

Included in a World Health Organization report released Wednesday is that about 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have the pesky and incurable herpes virus. And it causes more than just cold sores. Read more in HEALTH.

7. Royals Trounce Mets to Capture World Series Lead

After narrowly losing in a marathon Game 1, the New York Mets were crushed by Kansas City on Wednesday night, with the Royals claiming a 7-1 victory to take the Series 2-0. But the Mets have a chance for a comeback when they host their first home game Friday. Read more at NBC SPORTS.

Nightly Spotlight

Last year, Hunter Gandee set out to build a playground where his brother Braden — who suffers from cerebral palsy — could play. Today, his dream is a reality.

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