Gingrich tells OK lawmakers he'll reel in feds

By Brian Bakst

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waits to be introduced for a speech on the floor of the Oklahoma State Legislature in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — A once-powerful Washington figure himself, Newt Gingrich says he'd shrink the role of the nation's capital if sent back as president.

The Republican presidential candidate wrapped two days of Oklahoma campaigning Tuesday by addressing the state Legislature. He asked lawmakers for input on regulations to roll back and other steps to, in his words, "get the federal government out of your hair."

The former House speaker says he'd focus most on regulations he thinks are hindering energy development and on giving states greater flexibility to implement Medicaid programs for the poor.

Gingrich praised House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's ideas for turning more Medicaid funds into block grants to states. Gingrich drew conservative blowback last May for suggesting Ryan's plan for Medicare for seniors constituted "right wing social engineering."

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