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Gabrielle Giffords wows Joe Biden in DC at hubby Mark Kelly's retirement ceremony

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Capt. Mark Kelly hugs his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, after receiving the Legion of Merit at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Thursday. Photo by David Lienemann/The White House via Reuters
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Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly in Arizona before their 2007 wedding. Courtesy of Reuters/Handout
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News_Gabrielle Giffords_Mark Kelly

It's not everyday that Vice President Joe Biden is overshadowed, but Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was the biggest star at the D.C. retirement ceremony of her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

"It's not every day you encounter examples of sheer courage and selflessness and dedication like you see with this couple," Biden said, according to the Houston Chronicle. Giffords was described as blowing kisses to friends and admirers and walking with a limp and assistance from a staffer.

The retirement ceremony took place in the White House's Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with the Vice President administering the retirement oath to Kelly in front of notables including Nancy Pelosi and NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden. Press access to the ceremony was limited to outlets with ties to Giffords (think Arizona, Houston) and reporters in DC.

Kelly has been an astronaut since 1996 and flown four trips to space, including commanding the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour in May. Kelly was awarded the Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross medals, with Giffords affixing one to her husband's jacket.

It was Giffords' second trip to the capital since the January shooting that left her in critical condition and six others dead. Giffords made a memorable, if brief, appearance on the floor of the House of Representatives in August to cast a vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling. She has been recovering from her January shooting in Houston.

Giffords will not to appear at her capitol office or conduct any official business trip, according to a statement by her office, and is expected to return to Houston within 24 hours to miss as little of her therapy as possible.

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