Obama Visits Giffords, Tucson: 'Gabby Opened Her Eyes'

President urges Americans not to 'turn on each other'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 6:18 PM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2011 8:22 PM CST
Obama Visits Giffords, Tucson: 'Gabby Opened Her Eyes'
First lady Michelle Obama hugs astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(Newser) – President Obama paid a visit to Gabrielle Giffords and the other survivors of last weekend's shooting spree in Tucson, then delivered great news in his national address: "A few minutes after we left her room ... Gabby opened her eyes for the first time," he said. "She knows we're here, and she knows we love her." Before going into detail on the victims, he noted that the shooting took place during a "quintessentially American" moment—with Giffords talking to constituents. He made a plea for "civility" in our political discourse and urged Americans not to use the shooting as an excuse to "turn on each other," reports AP. "We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us." (Read the full text here.)

Other highlights:

  • Daniel Hernandez Jr., a 20-year-old intern who helped Giffords after she was shot, got a sustained ovation. He spoke briefly but movingly, rejecting the label of hero. (Obama later rejected his rejection.) He said Saturday's tragedy had brought together the city of Tucson, the state of Arizona, and the country. "We are all a family. We are all Americans."
  • Obama on 9-year-old victim Christina Taylor Green: "I want America to be as good as she imagined it," he said. "All of us—we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations."
  • Gov. Jan Brewer: She praised Obama's presence, paid tribute to the victims, and said Arizona won't be sent off track "by one madman's act of darkness."
  • Janet Napolitano: The Homeland Security chief and former Arizona governor said the violence doesn't represent "this community, this state, or this country."
(Read more Gabrielle Giffords stories.)

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