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In a statement issued by the White House, Mr. Obama said Armstrong and the rest of the crew carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation when the Apollo 11 mission trekked to the moon in July 1969.

“They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten,” Mr. Obama said.

The president said Armstrong’s “spirit of discovery” lives on today in all men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown.

“That legacy will endure,” Mr. Obama said, “sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.”

CAMPAIGN

Romney again rips Akin’s candidacy

Already facing a deficit with female voters, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney continued on Sunday to disavow the controversial “legitimate rape” comments made by Rep. W. Todd Akin, the U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri.

“I think it was a terrible statement on his part. I think it was uninformed; I think it was outrageous and offensive,” Mr. Romney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I’ve asked him to get out of the race,” he said of Mr. Akin, who has rebuffed calls to exit the contest against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. “He was wrong. It’s obviously being used by Democrats to cast a shadow on our entire party. It’s sad for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level.”

Mr. Romney took particular aim at recent Democratic ads tying the Republican campaign to Mr. Akin, which have included commercials attacking the fictitious “Romney/Ryan/Akin” ticket, an attempt to widen President Obama’s lead among female voters.

From wire dispatches and staff reports