Giffords gets warm welcome in Congress before resignation
Jan 25, 2012, 2:14 GMT
Washington - US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords got a long hug from President Barack Obama Tuesday and was welcomed to the State of the Union with cheers from colleagues as she prepares to step down from her post this week to focus on her ongoing recovery after surviving an assassination attempt more than a year ago.
Obama and lawmakers from both political parties have said they would miss Giffords' presence in Washington and expressed admiration for how she handled her ordeal.
Giffords was shot in the head during a meeting with constituents on January 8 in an attack that killed six bystanders.
She underwent months of treatment and therapy before being released from hospital in June, to be cared for by her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, in Houston.
Kelly joined First Lady Michelle Obama in her box to watch the speech along with other honoured guests.
Giffords made a brief appearance in Congress to cast a key vote last summer, but was otherwise not actively involved in legislation as she underwent therapy.
Alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, 22, is undergoing mental treatment after being initially found incompetent to stand trial on 49 federal charges stemming from the attack.