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Friend and colleague John Tanner: We need people like Giffords serving

Friend and colleague John Tanner: We need people like Giffords serving

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:03 pm

From AP, staff reports
Retired Congressman John Tanner said today he joins the rest of the country mourning Saturday morning’s shooting at a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket, where his friend U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot.
She remains hospitalized in a Tucson medical facility recovering after a bullet pierced the front of her head and exited the back, slicing the left side of the brain, which controls speech abilities and muscles on the right side of the body.
Tanner only recently returned to his Washington, D.C., condominium with his wife, Betty Ann.
It was there they first heard the news about the Saturday morning shooting in front of a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson.
“She came to see me when she was running for office,” Tanner said today. “We endorsed her.”
The “we” Tanner referred to is the Blue Dog Coalition he and Giffords were members of in the nation’s capital.
“She is one of the people this country needs to be serving in Congress,” Tanner said of his friend.
He described her as “a moderate … thoughtful and considerate.”
Authorities have Jared Lee Loughner in custody, and he stands accused of opening fire on a crowd in front of the supermarket using a Glock 9mm pistol to kill six and injure 13, including Rep. Giffords.
She remains hospitalized in Arizona and her amazing recovery was the focus of a special service Wednesday night. President Obama flew to Arizona, where he and others paid tribute to the six killed in the shooting rampage and to the fighting spirit of Giffords.
Few people who take a bullet to the brain — just 10 percent — survive such a devastating wound.
Yet doctors have reported the critically injured woman has been making steady progress each day since she was wounded last weekend.
Then Wednesday night — with her closest friends from Congress holding her hand — Giffords opened her eyes for the first time.
“It was raw courage. It was raw strength. It was so beautiful and so moving,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “She wanted us to know that she was with us a hundred percent and understood everything we were saying.”
If all goes well, Giffords may be “out of the woods” on Friday, said Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma chief at University Medical Center, who has treated soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are still four others recovering from the shooting at the Arizona medical facility, according to the Associated Press.
Giffords is a three-term Democrat representing Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. Saturday’s shooting took place at Giffords’ first “Congress in Your Corner” event of 2011, according to her website.
Giffords used the “Congress in Your Corner” events as a way to meet with her constituents, and previous such events had attracted between 75-100 people, according to her website.
Saturday’s shooting took place at the conclusion of the first week of the 112th Congress.

Published in The Messenger 1.13.11