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Today in History

Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president in 1952, defeating Adlai Stevenson.

AP file/1956

Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president in 1952, defeating Adlai Stevenson.

Today is Sunday, Nov. 4, the 309th day of 2012. There are 57 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Doris Roberts is 82. Actress Loretta Swit is 75. Rhythm-and-blues singer Harry Elston (Friends of Distinction) is 74. Blues singer Delbert McClinton is 72. Former first lady Laura Bush is 66. Actress Markie Post is 62. Rock singer-musician Chris Difford (Squeeze) is 58. Country singer Kim Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 52. Actress-comedian Kathy Griffin is 52. Actor Ralph Macchio is 51. ‘‘Survivor’’ host Jeff Probst is 51. Rock singer-musician Wayne Static (Static-X) is 47. Actor Matthew McConaughey is 43. Rapper-producer Sean ‘‘Puffy’’ Combs is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Shawn Rivera (Az Yet) is 41. Actress Heather Tom is 37. Rhythm-and-blues/gospel singer George Huff is 32. Actress Gillian Zinser (TV: ‘‘90210”) is 27.

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In 1862, inventor Richard J. Gatling received a US patent for his rapid-fire Gatling gun.

In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.

In 1922, the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt.

In 1924, Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation’s first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing ‘‘cash and carry’’ purchases of arms by belligerants, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson. The highly secretive National Security Agency came into existence.

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter by a strong margin.

In 1987, 6-year-old Elizabeth (Lisa) Steinberg was pronounced dead at a New York City hospital in a child-abuse case that sparked national outrage; her illegal adoptive father, Joel Steinberg, served nearly 17 years behind bars for manslaughter.

In 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.; in attendance were President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford, and Richard Nixon — the first-ever gathering of five past and present US chief executives.

In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a festive peace rally.

In 2002, President George W. Bush barnstormed through four battleground states — Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas — in a final appeal for Republicans in Congress; Democrats worked for a strong voter turnout to tilt key races their way.

In 2007, King Tutankhamun’s face was unveiled for the first time to the public more than 3,000 years after the pharaoh was buried in his Egyptian tomb. Citigroup Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Prince, beset by the company’s billions of dollars in losses from investing in bad debt, resigned. Paula Radcliffe outlasted Gete Wami to win her second New York City Marathon in 2:23:09. Martin Lel of Kenya won his second men’s title, in 2:09:04.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.

In 2011, a Syrian peace plan brokered just days earlier by the Arab League unraveled as security forces opened fire on thousands of protesters, killing at least 15. Alfonso Cano, 63, a bespectacled middle class intellectual who rose from chief ideologist to maximum leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, was killed in a military attack. ‘‘60 Minutes’’ commentator Andy Rooney, 92, died in New York a month after his farewell segment on the show.

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