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“She realized she was not going to run for re-election and this point the right thing to do was for her to step down,” Kelly said after the emotional event on the House floor. “But I’m more optimistic than anybody else about her future. She just needs some more time, whether it’s a year or two years or three years, I’m very confident she’s going to have a long and effective career as a public servant.”

Asked about her daughter’s future, Gloria Giffords said, “I kind of think she’s transcended Congress. I don’t know where she’s going to end up.”

“She’s remembered every boy she’s ever kissed, every song she’s ever sang, every bill she’s ever passed,” she said. “So upward and onward.”

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Jim Abrams contributed to this report.