Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.

“I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself,” Romney said during a speech before state Republican Party leaders gathered at a retreat in Arizona.

It was Romney’s first major appearance before party officials as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. But Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who was chairing the event, stopped short of formally endorsing the former Massachusetts governor as the GOP nominee, because Romney has not officially clinched the necessary number of delegates required to claim the nomination.

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