Nightly News   |  January 22, 2012

Giffords to retire

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, gravely wounded in a shooting a year ago, will resign from Congress. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> today from congresswoman gabrielle giffords , whose remarkable comeback became a source of inspiration in the midst of a horrible tragedy. it was a year ago this month giffords was shot through the head in an assassination attempt that killed six people outside a tucson, arizona , grocery store. she had to learn to speak and walk all over again. but today, acknowledging that her recovery is not complete, gabby giffords announced she's resigning from congress in a poignant video thank you to her supporters, she said she was getting better, but that she needed more time to heal. our capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell is with us now with more on giffords' announcement and the reaction to it. kelly , good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. congresswoman giffords will be back in washington tuesday night to attend the state of the union . it will be one of her final acts in public office . the president tonight called her her decision selfless and said it was made in the best interests of the people of arizona and the congresswoman made her announcement with a sort of campaign style video.

>> arizona is my home, always will be.

>> reporter: using music and images, giffords' video pays tribute to her home state and constituents.

>> i don't remember much from that horrible day, but i will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice.

>> reporter: it was one year and two weeks ago that a storm of bullets shattered giffords' congress on your corner event in tucson. giffords was shot in the head and gravely wounded. six people were killed, and a dozen injured. the accused gunman jared loughner remains in custody, declared not mentally fit to stand trial.

>> i'm getting better.

>> reporter: along with husband retired astronaut mark kelly , giffords has made only a handful of public appearances. stunning how colleagues, while returning to vote last august, and leading the pledge of allegiance at a vigil to mark the shooting anniversary. she ends her public career after five years in congress.

>> so to do what is best for arizona , i will step down this week.

>> reporter: today, house speaker john boehner says he salutes giffords for the courage and perseverance she has shown in the face of tragedy. democratic leader nancy pelosi calls her a true bright star .

>> i will return and we will work together.

>> reporter: arizona 's governor is expected to announce a date for a special election so voters can choose gabby giffords ' successor who will fill out the rest of her term, which runs the rest of this year. lester?

>> kelly o'donnell on capitol hill