March 3, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Reality and Hope Collide on Giffords

P.K. Weis/SouthwestPhotoBank.com
The first portraits of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot were posted to her Facebook page Sunday morning.

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But in the Arizona Republic interview, Carusone was more circumspect, noting that the Congresswoman is not yet halfway though the stage during which brain-injury victims make most of their progress. Wed love to know today what her life will be, what her quality of life will be, which will determine whether shell be able to run for office and all sorts of other things involving her life, Carusone said. But we just dont know yet.

Staffers on Capitol Hill noted that the tone of uncertainty is a far cry from only a few months ago, when the tenor from Giffords camp was more optimistic and she was even being floated as a top-tier candidate for Arizonas open Senate seat.

And Carusones analysis of her bosss physical condition was a surprise to Congressional followers who recalled the daily briefings from Giffords team of physicians in the first few weeks after the January shooting.

The fresh admission that Giffords is far from ready to resume her duties and, in fact, might never be seems to have granted those who held their tongues permission to speak openly about the politics surrounding her Congressional seat. Giffords is well-liked in her district and in Washington circles, and many thought it unseemly to raise the possibility that her recovery would be anything less than complete.

These conversations can be awkward, Diaz said. But its been awkward to not have these conversations. It might be time to start thinking about Plan B … Democrats cant be behind the eight ball.

Still, others held out hope for a best-case scenario. 

I dont think at this stage, this far out from when she would have to file, no one can really know what her political future looks like, a Democratic strategist said. At this point, I think theyre just trying to keep the public informed.

The strategist noted that Giffords office was up and running just days after the Tucson incident and has remained active ever since. Just last week, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a Giffords confidant, reintroduced legislation he worked on with the Congresswoman last year to boost the militarys use of renewable energies. Giffords, of course, did not appear at the press conference alongside Udall, a Tucson native, but the Coloradan nevertheless made her presence felt.

This is an issue thats near and dear to Gabby … I know shes eager to continue this important work, Udall said, noting the day of the press conference coincidentally fell on Giffords 41st birthday.

I think this is particularly monumental that we introduce this bill today, he said. 

Other colleagues, too, have acted on Giffords behalf. Seeking to keep Giffords options open by keeping her campaign coffers flush, Udall and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) held separate fundraisers for her last month.

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