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In new book, Gabrielle Giffords vows to return to Congress

November 04, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
  • Astronaut Mark Kelly hugs his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during his retirement ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.
Astronaut Mark Kelly hugs his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during his… (David Lienemann / White…)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says in her forthcoming book that she will return to Congress, and she details the challenges she's faced recovering from an attempt on her life in Tucson earlier this year.

The Associated Press obtained an early copy of the book from Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly. "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope" is not due for release for 11 more days.

Most of the books was written by Kelly, the wire service reported, but the closing chapter was the work of the Arizona Democrat, who writes: "I will get stronger. I will return."

It was not until two months after the Jan. 8 shooting at Giffords' constituent event at a Tucson shopping center that Kelly says his wife began to fully understand what happened. "Shot. Shocked. Scary" were her initial reactions.

Giffords was overcome by grief as she learned that others were killed in the shooting rampage, the AP reported, but it wasn't for six more months that she would learn the identity of the victims, including Gabe Zimmerman, a member of her staff.

Since her release from Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in June, Giffords has been staying at her husband's League City, Texas, home. She's made two visits to Washington, the first a surprise return to Congress to vote on the debt-ceiling compromise in August, and then in October for a retirement ceremony for Kelly at the White House.

She's also returned to her district several times, but the book notes that her political future has been a secondary concern to her physical recovery. According to the AP, the book explains that Giffords has lost 50% of the vision in both eyes.

The book also recounts Giffords' panicked state when she realized she couldn't talk at first. And when George H. W. Bush visited her in the hospital, she could only say one word to the former president: "chicken."

She since appears to have been fully briefed on current affairs. When a specialist showed her a picture of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, she said: "Messin' around. Babies."

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