POLITICS

Giffords vows to get stronger

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Kelly recounted the agonizing moments when several media outlets inaccurately reported that Giffords was dead. He grew more hopeful after learning she was alive and being treated at a Tucson hospital.

When Kelly first saw Giffords after the shooting, she was in a coma, with her head partially shaved and bandaged, her face black and blue, and her body connected to tubes. He told her he loved her and that she was going to survive.

He also describes the early days in Giffords' recovery in Texas, saying the darkest moment came when Giffords panicked after realizing she couldn't talk. Her eyes were wide with fear, and she was crying uncontrollably as Kelly tried to comfort her and assure her that she would get better.

The book also offers lighter moments, like when President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, visited Giffords at the Texas hospital. Giffords kept replying to Bush with the only word she was able to say: "chicken."

At another point, a specialist showed her various politicians to see if she recognized faces. When she saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, she said: "Messin' around. Babies," an apparent reference to the former California governor's marital troubles.

As she progressed, Giffords learned to talk again, completing phrases from the Constitution and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The book reveals that because of her injuries, Giffords has lost 50 percent of her vision in both eyes.

The book also mentions Sarah Palin, who was criticized after the shootings for a map posted by her political action committee that showed a number of Democratic-held congressional districts marked with crosshairs. Giffords' district was among those covered by the tiny symbols, which were supposed to indicate seats that would be targeted by the GOP.

Giffords found the map disturbing. After the shootings, Kelly vented his feelings about the map to President Barack Obama. He thought Palin might call to offer condolences because of the mounting criticism, but she never did.

Representatives for Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Palin's attorney, John Tiemessen, said he would relay to the former Alaska governor the AP's request for comment.

The book also reveals that the couple was quietly trying to have a baby.

Giffords had undergone several rounds of fertility treatments in the last few years and had hoped to get pregnant early in 2011.

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