Puerto Rico’s governor: Romney ‘looked me in the eye,’ promised statehood [VIDEO]

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Nicholas Ballasy
Senior Video Reporter
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      Nicholas Ballasy

      Nicholas Ballasy is the Senior Video Reporter for The Daily Caller covering Congress and national politics. Ballasy has interviewed a wide range of political leaders and celebrities including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. John McCain, Sen. John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Joan Rivers, Gloria Estefan, Jon Stewart, Dave Matthews, Neil Munro, Stevie Wonder, etc. His work has been featured by CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, The Drudge Report, Washington Post and New York Times, among others.

TAMPA, Fla. — Republican Governor Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico told The Daily Caller that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney looked him “in the eye” and said he would “provide the leadership necessary” to help Puerto Rico become a state.

TheDC asked Fortuño if he thought Romney or President Barack Obama would be more helpful to the cause of Puerto Rican statehood.

“I prefer Mitt Romney for many reasons, not just because of status,” he said before addressing an event sponsored by the Hispanic Leadership Network held during the Republican National Convention.

“However, I must tell you something: He [Romney] looked me straight in the eye and he told me that he was convinced that Puerto Ricans had contributed to the nation for so long, yet we were not partaking fully in the responsibilities and benefits of our citizenship, and that it was about time that we decide what we want to do, and should that be statehood that he would provide the leadership necessary to move that forward.”

Fortuño, who supports statehood for Puerto Rico, was hesitant to predict the final outcome of the process.

“Until Puerto Rican voters ask for it, there’s not much more we can say about this. Puerto Rican voters so far have not voted for statehood. So until that happens, it is — it will be unfair to characterize ahead of time what will Congress do,” he said.

“What I can tell you is — and I served for four years in Congress — what I can tell you is that they’ll be open to a request that is supported by a majority of voters. But that has not happened before, so it will be up to the voters in Puerto Rico to request statehood. And then we can move on to the next stage.”

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