Gabrielle Giffords has not decided on 2012 bid

at 10:02 AM ET, 08/02/2011


WASHINGTON, DC - August 1: Gabrielle Giffords on the House floor during the debt celing vote. (Photo by /Washington Post) (WASHINGTON POST)
The appearance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on the House floor Monday night warmed hearts. It also renewed interest in whether the congresswoman, greviously injured in a shooting this January, would be able to run for re-election in 2012.

This morning, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman said the party was readying for Giffords’ permanent return. But a spokeswoman for the congresswoman said no decision on Giffords’ political future had been made.

“We are confident that she is going to come back to help us full time,” Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said on CBS’ Early Show. At the same time, the chairwoman acknowledged that her close friend “still has a long way to go in her recovery.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Wasserman Schultz added that Democrats were helping Giffords prepare for 2012: “We’re certainly getting her ready to make sure she can run for re-election at the point that they’re ready to decide on that.”

“As you've seen, she's got the heart of a lion, made remarkable progress,” Wasserman Schultz added. “But her supporters in Arizona and across the country, her colleagues, are making sure that she doesn't have to start from scratch when she makes that decision.”

In a brief statement, Giffords spokeswoman C.J. Karamargin rejected speculation that the congresswoman’s support for Monday’s debt deal was the launch of a 2012 campaign. “Congresswoman Giffords is focused on her recovery,” she said. “No decision has been made about 2012.”

Giffords’ spoke to fellow lawmakers on Monday, and according to Wasserman Schultz she recognized not just friends and close colleagues but the House sergeant-at-arms. However,Giffords did not speak publicly; her only comments on the vote came via Twitter and prepared statements.

Aides to Giffords have tried to tamp down speculation about their boss’ political future in recent months. Pia Carusone, the congresswoman’s chief of staff, told the Arizona Republic in June that Giffords struggles to form longer words and was nowhere close to returning to work.

There has also been speculation that Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, would run for the seat. Kelly has said that he is not interested.

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