When Santorum campaigned in Puerto Rico before the March 18 primary, he stated that a condition for statehood should be adoption of English as the island’s only official language. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well in Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico. Santorum lost the primary by 75 percentage points.
Maybe that was all by design. After the primary, in a “congratulatory” message to Romney, the Santorum campaign bashed the former Massachusetts governor for putting “political expedience and political deception ahead of previously held policy positions,” which “further erodes their candidate’s credibility and trust.”
Indeed, Romney has said in the past that English should be the official language of the US. But while campaigning in Puerto Rico, he said there should be no prerequisites for statehood.
But maybe there’s more to Santorum’s stance. “English-only” is popular among Republicans, and it may be that Santorum was looking ahead to future GOP primaries when he took the hard-line position. Still, those two days in Puerto Rico could have been spent in Illinois, where the race with Romney was much closer. So the savviest move of all might have been to call for English-only in Puerto Rico – from a campaign stop in the Land of Lincoln.
To the Santorum campaign, though, it’s all about being principled. “Our nation needs a leader like Rick Santorum, who will make the tough choices and level with the American people even when it is not easy," Communications Director Hogan Gidley said in a statement post-Puerto Rico.