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The Curious Case Of Romney And Puerto Rican Statehood

The former Governor's position is a calculated campaign move.

Posted on March 17, 2012, at 1:38 p.m. ET

Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney came out in support of eventual statehood for Caribbean US territory Puerto Rico. Romney told members of the media on Friday shortly after his plane landed on the island "I don't have preconditions that I would impose" if Puerto Ricans voted to become the nation's 51st state.

The position pits Romney in contrast against his rival, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who in an interview earlier in the week said the island would need to adopt English as their official language as a precursor for statehood.

Romney's postion is curious for a number a reasons. When running for Governor in 2002, Romney campaigned strongly in support of an English immersion law saying "I would make English immersion the educational norm for all non-native English speakers."

During his failed 2008 run for the Presidency, Romney campaigned in support of English as the official language of the United States telling the New Hampshire Union Leader "We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."

Now, though, his flexibility offers an opportunity to distance himself from Santorum.