- Associated Press - Monday, January 24, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — An intern with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who aided the congresswoman after she was shot in the head will sit with first lady Michelle Obama for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, a White House official said.

Mrs. Giffords‘ husband, Houston-based astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, does not plan to attend, her office said Monday. Mrs. Giffords was transferred last Friday from the Tucson hospital where she had been since the Jan. 8 shooting to a Houston facility for rehabilitation.

Intern Daniel Hernandez was hailed as a hero after the shooting in Tucson in which 18 others also were shot at a constituent event the Democratic lawmaker was holding. Six people were killed, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

Mr. Hernandez, a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, rushed to Mrs. Giffords‘ side and put pressure on her wounds until medical personnel arrived.

When he spoke Jan. 12 at a nationally televised memorial service in Tucson for the victims, Mr. Hernandez shunned the hero label. But when it was his turn to speak, Mr. Obama politely disagreed and assured Mr. Hernandez that he was, in fact, a hero.

Mr. Hernandez sat next to Mr. Obama during the service. On Tuesday night, he will sit in the first lady’s box overlooking the floor of the House.

The White House official spoke anonymously Monday because Mrs. Obama’s complete guest list had not been released.

Mrs. Giffords‘ office said that her Arizona doctors — trauma surgeons Peter Rhee and Randall Friese and neurosurgeon Michael Lemole — and nurse Tracy Culbert planned to attend the annual address.


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