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War of 1812 makes it into the Keystone pipeline debate at U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON - A funny thing happened today in the United States Capitol: the War of 1812 came up in the Keystone XL pipeline debate.

There were plenty of jokes about the old conflict between Anglo nations during a news conference featuring Canadian ambassador Gary Doer, two U.S. lawmakers and American veterans.

The good-natured teasing occurred during a more serious discussion about whether approving the pipeline would make the U.S. militarily stronger.

Keystone XL proponents are using the current dispute in eastern Europe to argue that Russia's energy leverage allowed it to invade Ukraine without fear of serious European sanctions.

Their argument goes that if the U.S. builds up this continent's energy infrastructure, it could wield more clout and help allies in need of oil and gas.

Doer began with an 1812 joke, prompting a Republican senator to say the U.S. really won that war. A Democratic senator chimed in, saying the U.S. and Canada probably won't ever have a war like that again.

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin said the U.S. can now trust Canada as a stable energy supplier — one that will help set America free from the "shackles" of foreign oil dependence.

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