WASHINGTON (AP) _ State and local governments know better than Washington what their people need, and President Clinton should tell federal bureaucrats to back off, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Saturday.

Delivering the Republicans' weekly radio address, Huckabee, who like Clinton is from tiny Hope, Ark., urged the president not to forget his roots despite almost seven years in the White House.

``Please, Mr. President, don't forget where you're from,'' Huckabee said. ``Don't forget you once were a governor demanding more flexibility from Washington so you could help the working families of your state.''

He described Arkansas' ``Our Kids First'' comprehensive insurance program for children of low-income families, the state's welfare-to-work program that has cut welfare rolls by more than half and other improvements in the decade since Clinton was governor.

``The real innovations have come at the state and local levels, rather than at the federal level,'' he said.

Despite this, he said, the administration wants to dictate how spending and policy decisions such as moving insured children from the copayment-based Arkansas plan to Medicaid.

``I can see how a bureaucrat working in a nicely appointed office cubicle in Washington might not understand that forcing families who have never been a part of a welfare program to enroll in Medicaid would drive them away,'' Huckabee said.

``But I would expect the president, who was a governor in my state for so long and met the same families I meet every day, to understand this basic of human nature.''