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Gabrielle Giffords inspires crowd at Democratic convention

Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (right) waved after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention.  )

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Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (right) waved after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Gabrielle Giffords has inspired the cheering delegates at the Democratic National Convention by leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

The former Arizona congresswoman came to the stage Thursday night, walking with a distinct limp as she received a standing ovation. Convention spectators had tears in their eyes when she finished. She smiled broadly and waved enthusiastically to the audience as they chanted, ‘‘Gabby, Gabby.’’

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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’ appearance, pushed back the Pledge a few hours.

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