CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A surprise appearance by Gabrielle Giffords provided an emotional lift to an already celebratory atmosphere on the Democratic convention’s closing night, as the former Arizona congresswoman appeared onstage to lead the hall in the Pledge of Allegience.
Giffords, who was critically wounded in a 2011 assassination attempt during a constituent event in her district, walked deliberately on stage, and with only occasional support from her friend and former colleague, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
The delegates greeted Giffords with a loud and sustained standing ovation. Some in the crowd appeared to be moved to tears.
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After reciting the oath, Giffords waved and blew kisses to the audience before being led offstage, as chants of “Gabby” gave way to the Obama campaign’s signature cry: “Fired Up! Ready to Go!”
Giffords resigned from Congress in January so that she could focus on her recovery, and received a moving sendoff at President Obama’s state of the union address and during her final House session the following day.
She has remained largely out of the public eye since, though this week she, along with husband Mark Kelly, announced the creation of a new Political Action Committee, “GabbyPAC,” that would support candidates for office who are “in favor of reaching compromise and bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face,” according to the committee’s website.
A Republican, former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, and a Democrat, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, were announced as the PAC’s co-chairs.
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