03/16/2012 05:15 pm ET Updated May 16, 2012

Senador Santorum? Come Again?

By Marin Cogan, GQ

Senador Puertorriqueño has a lovely ring to it, and it's just the kind of moniker a presidential aspirant would love to tout if he's trying to pull off another upset in Sunday's primary. The only problem? I was born in Pennsylvania; Rick Santorum was my senator, and I've never heard of that. But it's a big state, with one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the United States, so maybe I missed it.

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I did a Nexis search of Santorum and Senador and found... one entry, posted by POLITICO's Juana Summers at 10:29 last night, after Santorum made the comment. A search on Santorum and Puerto Rico reveals little else (except that, according to Roll Call, he hired a 22-year-old assistant who had lived in Puerto Rico 20 years ago.) One Twitter follower of Jake Tapper's said she'd heard Santorum referred to as a Senador in Allentown, and points to this New York Times profile of Santorum, which refers to the Puerto Rican demographic only once:

The people he encountered spoke to him, at times, as if he were a visiting holy man. ''You're a man of Christian principles and values, and our people will embrace you because your values are our values,'' Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, a Republican and community activist, told him as they rode in a car between events. Santorum just sort of nodded and smiled.

Santorum was apparently getting the holy treatment in Puerto Rico, too -- until that pesky mouth of his got in the way. "As in any other state, you have to comply with this and any federal law. And that is that English has to be the main language," he told a local paper Wednesday.

Only thing is, there is no federal law requiring that state adopt English as the official language, and Puerto Rico is in the middle of an intense debate about whether to become a state, and more specifically, whether they might be forced by Congress to adopt a policy some find offensive to their culture. On Thursday, Santorum lost the endorsement of a real Senador over the controversy. "I cannot back a person who holds that position," Oreste Ramos, a former member of the Puerto Rican Senate, told the paper.

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Santorum keeps digging in. "I think English and Spanish -- obviously Spanish is going to be spoken here on the island -- but this needs to be a bilingual country, not just a Spanish-speaking country, and right now it is overwhelmingly just Spanish speaking. But it needs to have, in order to fully integrate into American society, English has to be a language that is spoken here also and spoken universally," he told reporters, according to an ABC report.

I checked in with one other person -- my mom, a lifelong Pennsylvanian -- to see if she had ever heard about Santorum's nickname. "They had lots of names for Rick in Pennsylvania," she said. "That wasn't one of them."

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