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Puerto Rico Will Vote On Statehood In November

March 28, 2012 by staff 

Puerto Rico Will Vote On Statehood In November, Puerto Rico’s Republican primary was nearly a week ago, but Rick Santorum was still talking about statehood for the territory at a campaign event on Saturday. At a gathering of conservatives in Camp Hill, Pa., on Saturday, he explained a question he received from a Puerto Rico newspaper when he visited the state earlier this month.

“I was asked the question, do you believe in statehood?” Santorum said. “I said sure, I have no problem with it. They said, what about the condition of having to speak the English language, because only 15% of Puerto Ricans speak English? And I said, well, of course they’d have to speak the English language.”

Santorum told the Spanish-language newspaper Vocero in mid March that “to be a state of the United States, English must be the principal language” of the territory.

Those remarks sparked backlash, including a rebuke from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who said at a campaign stop in the territory, “I don’t have preconditions that I would impose” should Puerto Ricans vote for statehood. The territory is set for a referendum on the issue in November.

But Santorum’s point for Pennsylvania voters wasn’t about statehood prospects for an island some 1,600 miles away. He used the incident to paint himself as principled, and Romney as inconsistent, or at worst, pandering.

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