The question seemed harmless enough: Should Puerto Rico become a state?
Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward, the Republican primary candidates in Idaho's 1st congressional district, were asked that question at a forum this week in Post Falls.
Here is how Ward answered the question: "The problem with extending statehood to some, to any other country, is that then the infrastructure requirements...cost an enormous amount of money." He went on: "Let's focus on what's important here. It's about putting Americans back to work. It's about putting this country right again. And I don't see that and I don't care what state it is or what country it is that wants to become a part of America; it's not time, it's not going to be time. Let's focus on us first."
Labrador, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, responded: "I just need to correct, Puerto Rico is not a country, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It's about time that we took some civics lesson and we learn what Puerto Rico is."
Ward: "I really don't care what it is. I mean, it doesn't matter. I don't care..."
Labrador: "Obviously you don't."
Challenged again by Labrador on Thursday afternoon, Ward said that he simply misspoke and that he knows Puerto Rico is a territory.
You can watch the entire exchange between the candidates here.
Idaho's primary is next Tuesday.