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Gabrielle Giffords' supporters prepare for possible reelection bid

August 02, 2011|By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
  • Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly depart the Capitol after the congresswoman returned, to thunderous applause, for a vote on the House floor.
Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly depart the Capitol after the… (Susan Walsh / Associated…)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hasn't yet decided to run for reelection, but if she does, her supporters want to make sure she's primed and ready for the campaign.

"We're certainly getting her ready to make sure she can run for reelection at the point that they're ready to decide on that," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz , a close friend of Giffords, said Tuesday. "Her supporters in Arizona and across the country, her colleagues, are making sure she doesn't have to start from scratch." (Watch video below.)

Wasserman Schultz, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said she had no inkling that the Democratic congresswoman was planning on making a startling return to the House floor on Monday until she was called by Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, Sunday night. She said Kelly told her that Giffords had been following the debate over the debt ceiling closely and was ready to come to Washington to vote for the compromise plan crafted by congressional leaders if the vote was close.

Photos: Gabrielle Giffords

By Monday, Wasserman Schultz said, Giffords had decided to come and vote regardless, reasoning that the measure was "the most important bill" the House would likely vote on all year.

She said a cheer went up when Giffords' vote in favor of the bill appeared on the electronic tote board in the House chamber, sounding a unifying grace note to a debate filled with partisan acrimony.

"The whole place cheered," she said. " She really just filled up all of our hearts, and these were some really frozen hearts. Gabby helped us melt them."

After the vote, Giffords' posted to her Twitter account: "The Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight."

Kelly, along with his fellow astronauts from NASA's final shuttle mission aboard the Endeavour, are to be honored at the White House on Tuesday.

Wasserman Schultz said Giffords will return to Houston to continue her rehabilitation from the gunshot wound to the head she sustained in a January assassination attempt in Tucson. The House has begun a monthlong recess.

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