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Obama’s speech was ‘small ball’: Rep. Paul Ryan

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan told CNBC on Wednesday that President Barack Obama's State of the Union address didn't contain any new ideas and said the president should not be taking credit for the U.S. natural gas boom.

In an interview on "Squawk Box," the former GOP vice presidential candidate referred to the speech as "small ball," and added that the president's promise of executive orders goes against the Constitution.

Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that he's "eager to work" with lawmakers. But he vowed to bypass a divided Congress and take action on his own to bolster the nation's middle class and close the nation's wealth gap. He promised executive orders on an increase in the minimum wage for federal contract workers, creation of a "starter savings account" and new fuel efficiency standards for trucks.

(Read more: Obama renews long-standing, unmet economic proposals)

While Obama was "less adversarial" in his speech this year, Ryan said the president should not have taken credit for the North American natural gas boom because his administration's stance on federal lands has been "doing a lot to frustrate this development," such as dragging out the decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

"This is a highly regulatory president. Especially on energy, he's going overboard on regulations," the Wisconsin Republican said. "Look at coal, 60 percent of the power in Wisconsin comes from coal power plants. [Obama's] got a new regulation coming out later this year that could put those out of business."

(Read more: Political strategist: Obama has 'reason to be nervous')

"We should not assume that North America has all this shale," he said. "It's just we've discovered it first because we have capital, good infrastructure. We've already done the work. Let's realize it. Let's dominate for these 20 years."

In the official GOP response Tuesday night, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers stressed the importance of free markets, while saying Americans don't need the government making decisions for them.

Ryan built on those themes in the CNBC interview, advocating an across-the-board tax rate decrease. "The Ways and Means Committee is going to be advancing legislation. We hope that the president is a productive partner in that. We know there are Senate Democrats who agree with us."

Ryan said the labor force participation rate right now is horrible, and that more jobs need to be created to get unemployed Americans back to work.

On the issue of whether he's going to run for president in 2016, Ryan said he hasn't decided.

"I've got an important job to do. We're in the majority here in the House. We've got to make this divided government work, as uncomfortable as it can be," he said. "Then after this session I'm going to keep my options open and figure it out then."

When asked how old he was, Ryan said, "I turned 44 today."

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.


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