CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gabrielle Giffords, her step faltering but her voice clear and strong, inspired cheering delegates at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night by leading them in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The former Arizona congresswoman, who was shot in the head by a would-be assassin in Tucson, came to the stage Thursday night, walking with a distinct limp.
She completed the pledge, stumbling over the word ‘‘indivisible’’ only slightly, in her first real public speaking since the shooting. She then blew kisses to the crowd, which surged to its feet in a standing ovation, chanting ‘‘Gabby! Gabby!’’
Many spectators had tears in their eyes when she finished.
Giffords has helped out Democrats on occasion after resigning earlier this year to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head. She campaigned for the former aide who took her seat in Congress, Ron Barber. She also has formed a political action committee.
Democratic officials, sensing the dramatic effect of Giffords’s appearance, pushed back the Pledge of Allegiance a few hours.