SAN JUAN -- In Puerto Rico on Friday the Romney campaign found that politics here comes in a distinctly local flavor. Gone were the rusty factories, introductions to campaign theme song "Born Free," and even the "thanks you guys" greetings.
In their place instead were seaside vistas, a 12-piece Latin band and an electronic remix of "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" as Mitt Romney took the stage at his final event Friday, a multi-organizational rally outside the capital, with an energetic crowd gathered before a stage built just above a sea wall.
"Politics in Puerto Rico is spoken with energy and passion," Romney observed midway through his brief remarks here. "Thank you."
At a press conference earlier in the day on an airport tarmac, Romney took questions mostly from the local press, addressing everything from his opposition to the Supreme Court appointment of Sonia Sotomayor -- herself of Puerto Rican descent -- to his stance on whether the adoption of English as the island's sole official language should be a prerequisite for statehood (it should not be, he said.)
On the subject of statehood, Romney was pressed several times, and stuck to his message, saying that if a majority of Puerto Ricans voted to become the 51st state, he as president would fight to make that effort a reality in Washington.
"My view is that the people of Puerto Rico should have, as they will have, the opportunity to make their own wishes felt. If a majority of Puerto Ricans wish to become a state then I will support that effort in Washington and will help lead that effort in Washington.
The statehood issue reared again in Romney's remarks Friday night, with chants of "statehood now" breaking out during his speech.
While there is little reliable polling here, Romney is favored by many observers to carry the territory's primary Sunday. He has the endorsement of the state's popular governor, Luis Fortuno, and began running Spanish-language radio ads here earlier this week.
Friday night, Fortuno praised Romney for promising to include Puerto Rico in any domestic economic-growth plan. Friday morning, Fortuno's wife, Luce Vela Fortuno, predicted that Romney would carry all 20 of the island's 20 Republican delegates once the votes were counted.
"I'm sure that Mitt Romney will win the primary here in Puerto Rico and that he will take the 20 delegates here," Luce Vela Fortuno told reporters during a joint appearance with Ann Romney where Gov. Fortuno passed out checks to senior citizens as part of a tax-rebate program.
For her part, Ann Romney seemed to be enjoying the island tempo, and the more hands-on application of politics here in Puerto Rico, joking with the press about a "lot of hugging and kissing" at a private dinner she attended here. Friday night, after sitting on stage for some 90 minutes of speeches and music, she boiled down her message to the people of the "Island of Enchantment" thusly: "You show us how to party!"