Romney stakes opposition to Santorum over language issue
March 15th, 2012
02:43 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney stakes opposition to Santorum over language issue

(CNN) – Mitt Romney on Thursday staked out some distance between himself and rival Rick Santorum on the issue of Puerto Rico's official language.

Santorum stood by his the assertion he made Wednesday that "English needs to be the principal language" for the territory to be considered for statehood.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told CNN that the former Massachusetts governor would not support such a requirement.

"Governor Romney believes that English is the language of opportunity and supports efforts to expand English proficiency in Puerto Rico and across America," Saul said in a statement. "However, he would not, as a prerequisite for statehood, require that the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish."

But Santorum did not advocate that "the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish," but rather English should be the "principal language" of the territory.

Puerto Rico designates both English and Spanish as official languages. There is no federal law stipulating an official language, but 31 states have adopted measures and Congress has included adoption of English as a requirement for statehood in previous cases.

Voters will be surveyed on their interest in statehood in a November referendum.

Santorum concluded a two-day visit to the island on Thursday, and Romney is scheduled to campaign there beginning Friday. Romney announced plans to air a Spanish-language advertisement in Puerto Rico ahead of the primary.

The territory's representative to Congress, Democrat Pedro Pierluisi predicted on CNN's Starting Point Thursday that Romney would win the primary on Sunday, though he expected an Obama victory come November.

Also see:

When Romney says 'get rid of' Planned Parenthood he means…

Hatch, if reelected, wouldn't run again

Ridge endorses Romney

Poll: Santorum leads in Pennsylvania


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Puerto Rico • Rick Santorum
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Yeah, he'll be walking back that comment shortly.

    March 15, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Ozzie

    Republicans really know the issues that our on most people's minds. You're silly, Ricky. Go home. You embarrass us all, except those who are also bothered by people of color.

    March 15, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "But Santorum did not advocate that "the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish,"

    So you'll correct GOPers' purposeful mischaracterizations of each other's positions but not when they purposefully mischaracterize what Obama and the Dems argue as their own positions? Death panels anyone?

    March 15, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    My grandparents were Italian immigrants via Ellis Island. My dad was a first-generation born American. he obtained an assiciate's degree... not because his classes were taught in Italian, but because he learned English. I'm second generation and can't speak a word of Italian. So really, we're talking less than 2 generations to assimilate.

    March 15, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Jules

    Ha! Another nonsense issue for them to debate.

    March 15, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    This is a Tower of Babel issue for Santorum.

    March 15, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. HRH

    Ricky made another huge fail.

    Gleefully awaiting Romney's "I don't actually speak the spanish, but some of my friends own the language.".

    March 15, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Mikey

    I'm glad to see Romney misrepresenting Santorum's positions, rather than misrepresenting President Obama's positions.

    March 15, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. HRH

    Sniffit

    "But Santorum did not advocate that "the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish,"

    So you'll correct GOPers' purposeful mischaracterizations of each other's positions but not when they purposefully mischaracterize what Obama and the Dems argue as their own positions? Death panels anyone?

    Saw that too. Funny how CNN helps the candidates calling them "evil librul media".

    March 15, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Do you want to be a US citizen learn English Republicans advocate for that Romney campaign didn’t know that

    March 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    New Mexico has always been a bilingual state, its Constitution is written in both English and Spanish: how can we say this is a barrier to being part of this country?

    March 15, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America!!

    March 15, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    What do the people of this island think? If they decide on statehood, then I would hope that anyone that they elect to Congress should be able to speak both English and Spanish. Beyond that, there shouldn't be a requirement.

    March 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. EliPR

    Why doesn't anybody mention that New Mexico was accepted to the Union as a Bilingual state, which was on their original state constitution.

    March 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Vote for Obama, he has already saved America.

    March 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Jc

    Rick santourm is a loser

    March 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. GL

    Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told CNN that the former Massachusetts governor would not support such a requirement.

    Mitt will be walking that back. Mitt is known to say what ever he thinks the crowd what's to hear.

    March 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair, 3 generations is normal for assimilation, depending upon whether both parents decide to learn English. It also depends upon their willingness to buy into the culture, and if the immigration is permanant.Your family's experience was typical, just bear in mind that not everyone's is. Puerto Rico is a special case because of how it became a US territory, so we are dealing with a deeply ingrained culture. I don't think this is as clear-cut as our previous experiences with acquiring/admitting a state. If we use your family's experience as typical, it will take at least 3 generations to assimilate the population of Puerto Rico into the mainstream of American culture.

    March 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Peggy

    Truth and Nothing But
    So good to know that you and Ricky know that God prefers English over other languages. Do you suppose He ignores prayers in Spanish or (heaven forbid!) prayers in Latin or Hebrew?

    March 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. tony

    Have any of you traveled or lived down south.. Hell most whites can`t speak english! maybe all of these racist can start a colony on the moon...I would not mine paying taxes to make that happen..

    March 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens is just as big a loser as Santorum. But Mittens is wealthy and that means a lot to a republican.

    March 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Valentina

    @ Wire Palladin, S. F. – sure he did, and that's why the unemployment now is higher than when he took office. That's definitely something to be proud of, right? See, Obama can't run for re-election on his record because it's crappy – that is why he is so desperately trying to run on contraception vis-a-vis women issues.

    March 15, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Sista in DC

    He'll flip on that next week.

    March 15, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Howard's Daddy

    "English is the language of opportunity" – Carlos Slim

    March 15, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair, more like it only took two generations to dumb you down – and that's nothing to brag about. It's really sad that you were incapable your grandparents' language. It must suck to be that incapable.

    March 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
1 2