Giffords votes in House; colleague says preparations readying for re-election run

Following her dramatic return to Congress for the first time since she was shot, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced that she would run for re-election in 2012.

Giffords (D-Ariz.) made the announcement Tuesday morning on “The Early Show.” The CBS program promptly tweeted the news.

The announcement that Giffords, the first Jewish women elected to statewide office in Arizona, would be seeking her fourth term in Congress came the morning after she surprised her colleagues in the House of Representatives by appearing on the House floor to vote for the debt ceiling package, which passed the $2.5 trillion deal. She received a standing ovation from the chamber, creating a brief moment of unity after weeks of fractious budget debates.

“The Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight,” Giffords said in a tweet before appearing in the chamber, the first tweet made in the first person since she was shot Jan. 8 in an assault that killed six people while she met constituents at a strip mall in her congressional district in Tucson, Ariz.

Giffords walked onto the House floor accompanied by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, and her closest friend in Congress, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), to building applause from both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), like Wasserman Schultz a close Jewish friend and a fundraiser for Giffords, rushed over to hug her.

“This is a day for the history books,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “We saved our country from going into default, and my beloved friend and ever-optimistic colleague Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the floor to cast her vote in favor of the future of our nation.”