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Mr. Gingrich, though considering himself a fiscal conservative, pushed spending on health and science research from the time he was a congressional backbencher.

“When I was speaker, we balanced the federal budget while doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health,” Mr. Gingrich noted. “We should have increased the National Science Foundation budget at the same time.”

“One of the keys to brain research is better computation and better storage systems,” Mr. Gingrich said. “President Obama deserves credit for taking an important step in the right direction.”