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Skipping Michigan And Arizona, Gingrich Has Georgia (And Trees) On His Mind

Newt Gingrich skipped Tuesday's primary states of Michigan and Arizona to spend time in a place he knows well — and which votes in a week — Georgia.

The former House speaker from the state reached back three decades Tuesday night, recounting stories of his time as a college professor and even his attempt to cut down a tree with colleagues from the University of West Georgia.

Gingrich spoke from the university campus in Carrollton. NPR's Kathy Lohr reported that several hundred people lined up to attend the event.

Gingrich told the audience he "treasured the years" teaching college in the 1970s. Even as results were coming in for Arizona and Michigan (he seemed likely to finish third in Arizona and fourth in Michigan), he rarely mentioned his Republican rivals by name — except for saying former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney can "raise more money because he can go to Wall Street and get money from all the people who got bailouts from the taxpayers. So in a sense your money is coming back to you in the form of negative ads. ... I can't match that."

For most of the speech, he focused his attacks on President Obama, declaring he had an "anti-American energy view."

It's a message Gingrich stressed all week, earlier pledging that as president he'd be able to lower gas prices to $2.50 a gallon.

Gingrich plans to air a 30-minute address on his energy policy on the Ohio News Network before that state's March 6 primary, his campaign announced.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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