CHARLOTTE, N.C. — 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.”

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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