Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' surprise appearance at the congressional debt ceiling vote on Monday evening raises the question of whether she will attempt a reelection bid as she recovers from the January shooting in Tucson that left her rehabilitating at Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann. The speculation rose on Tuesday morning as Democratic party chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz told CBS' The Early Show, "We are confident that she is going to come back to help us full time."
Does "help us full time" translate to a return to Washington? "Congresswoman Giffords is focused on her recovery," Giffords spokesman CJ Karamargin said in a brief statement. "No decision has been made about 2012."
In June, Giffords chief of staff Pia Carusone said that the congresswoman cannot form long words and was far from capable of returning to work. Still, Giffords' colleagues are waiting in the wings. Wasserman Schultz told CBS that the party is assisting Giffords in preparing for a reelection bid if she opts to run — which prompted CBS News reporters to announce preemptively on Twitter at 7 a.m. that Giffords will be running.
The Florida congresswoman also told MSNBC's Morning Joe, "We're certainly getting her ready to make sure she can run for reelection at the point that they're ready to decide on that." Wasserman Schultz continued,
She continues to focus on her recovey . . . she's got the heart of a lion, made remarkable progress. But her supporters in Arizona and across the country, her colleagues, are making sure that she doesn't have to start from scratch when she makes that decision."
The Democratic party chief also revealed that Giffords is already back in Houston, and will continue her out-patient therapy on Wednesday.