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Puerto Rico legislator calls Santorum comments 'narrow'

"And in Puerto Rico, as a matter of fact, we have two official languages, English and Spanish. Santorum's view is narrow and limiting view of what America is all about," Pierluisi  added. "English is the predominant language in the U.S. and will continue to be so, whether Puerto Rico becomes a state or not."

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A day earlier, Santorum told the newspaper El Vocero that English had to be the "principal language" of Puerto Rico.

"Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law," Santorum told the paper, according to Reuters. "And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language, such as Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language."

The Constitution does not mandate that English be the official language as a prerequisite for statehood.

The comment will likely receive a fair amount of attention in Puerto Rico, where statehood is a hot-button issue.

Santorum's interview with El Vocero came during a swing through the territory in which he also sat down with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño (R), considered a rising star in the GOP and an advocate of Puerto Rican statehood. Fortuño backed Mitt Romney for president in late January.