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Romney to Huddle with RNC Members in Arizona Ahead of Speech

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) -- Before Mitt Romney addresses a meeting of Republican Party state chairs from across the country at their meeting in Arizona on Friday, he will meet privately with some of his most loyal backers on the committee.

The Romney campaign organized the behind-the-scenes gathering as a way of thanking supporters from within the Republican National Committee who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor -- in particular those who have stuck with him throughout the primary season.  Party leaders who are not yet publicly supporting Romney did not receive invitations.

Hundreds of GOP leaders, including state chairs and RNC committeemen and women are gathered in Arizona for a three-day conference, and Romney will address the group during a lunch-time speech on Friday.

Romney aides were careful not to cast the speech as an attempt to officially lay claim to the GOP nomination, but said that he would use the opportunity to continue to sharpen the contrast with President Obama as he has been doing on the campaign trail.

However, one top Romney adviser told ABC News, “People are ready to rally.”

And it’s evident the Romney team views this week’s RNC meeting as an opportunity to solidify party stalwarts, dispatching deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage, counsel Ben Ginsberg and other aides to the meeting.  Long-time Romney confidant, Ron Kaufman, serves as a national committeeman from Massachusetts, and is among the presumptive GOP nominee’s key advocates on the committee.

The Romney campaign has already begun coordinating with the RNC on fundraising and messaging.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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