Giffords gets ovation, president’s embrace on eve of resignation
President Barack Obama embraces U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, before the State of the Union address in the U.S. House on Tuesday.
January 25th, 2012
01:37 AM ET

Giffords gets ovation, president’s embrace on eve of resignation

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a few steps into the House chamber and absorbed a 90-second standing ovation before the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the eve of her resignation to focus on recovering from her shooting last year.

Giffords, escorted by colleagues including her friend U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, smiled and waved as attendees stood and cheered, with some chanting "Gab-by! Gab-by!"

Her husband, retired Navy captain and former astronaut Mark Kelly, smiled as he watched from his seat near first lady Michelle Obama. As President Barack Obama entered a few minutes later, the president paused at Giffords' seat and gave her a long embrace and a kiss on the cheek.

And when she stood during the speech and applauded Obama's lines, the Arizona Democrat was helped to her feet by a Republican and fellow Arizonan, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, who probably wouldn't be standing with Democrats during applause lines otherwise.

"It was the least I could do," Flake told CNN after the address. "It was just an incredible experience to be there with her, particularly after last year, having an empty chair where she should have been. It was just an overwhelming, emotional experience for, I think, all of us."

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Rep. Giffords is an inspiration to our nation.
    Her presence at the President's speech was the Democrats' most positive part of the evening's glamor, and Obama was very wise in stopping to embrace and kiss her.

    January 25, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. TORI©

    @jif, I concur.I got teary eyed at this and then got laser focused on what Obama had to say. Keeping late hours again,aren't we?

    January 25, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I hate the word I wrote, against my instinct, "glamor," trying to be a little modern.
    GLAMOUR. That's the word.
    I love England altogether. I'm very conservative.
    The next thing you know, they'll be trying to abolish the Monarchy.

    January 25, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Hi, TORI!
    That brave woman's presence reminded me of you because you went to the celebration for her recently.
    This is not late for me: I wake up after sleeping a few hours. I blog a little to calm down and go back to sleep.

    January 25, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Truly a miracle


    January 25, 2012 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Iceman

    What a strong woman i have the utmost of respect for her, and her husband ? Stand by her just the way love should be shown . What a dream life for two people to love each other that deeply. Its a great pleasure to have some leaders in this country that can set such a dam good example as giffords has ,of never giving up and fight on no matter what . THANK YOU MS GIFFORDS FOR SUCH A FINE EXAMPLE

    January 25, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. rooney©

    Glad she's getting the recognition she deserves. It's a shame that she has to resign but it's the best thing for her recovery.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mercenary for Hire

    God Bless You Always, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords !! As for Jared Lee Loughner – This animal will hopefully get what's coming to him !!

    January 25, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Whatever

    Ofcourse he hugged her, because if he did`nt he would`ve been impeached right after his speech!

    January 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    Jared is my hero.

    January 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tingle

    Probably never occured to the Prez NOT to embrace her...down, haters!

    January 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Good luck to you Gabby in your continued rehab. You've done a wonderful job. God bless you and your future.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |