updated 7/14/2004 4:26:12 PM ET 2004-07-14T20:26:12

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney criticized the Bush administration on Wednesday, saying the government engages in wasteful spending and often gives money to ensure Republican votes.

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The government doles out money “based on who will vote for us or for our party: in effect, we buy votes,” Romney said in remarks prepared for delivery. “We fund programs that don’t work. We tolerate abuse and cheating in the multiples of billions of dollars.”

The GOP governor is a former businessman who was CEO and president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic games.

Romney also criticized Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, arguing that his ties to trial lawyers and labor unions make the Democratic candidate “too conflicted to be president.”

The GOP governor said it is difficult for the four-term Massachusetts senator to take clear positions on issues such as health care and education based on his connections to unions.

“He wants a leaner government, but he can’t face down the public employee unions. He is quick to point out the obvious flaws in the Iraq military campaign, but slow to tell us what he would do from here, for he wishes to appease as long as possible both those in his party who want to walk away and those who want to finish the job,” Romney said.

Responding to the criticism, Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said it was “disappointing to see George W. Bush sending out yet another lemon-sucking surrogate to push his attack campaign. This president should spend more time attacking the problems of the American people and less time attacking John Kerry.”

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