Three months after she was shot and critically wounded while attending a constituent event, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to make enormous strides in her journey to recovery. But her husband, Mark Kelly, doesn't want the public to get too far ahead of itself when it comes to his wife's condition and her political future.
In an interview with Newsweek's Peter Boyer, Kelly sought to temper reports about Giffords' rehabilitation. For one, she's still yet receive approval from her doctors to attend NASA's of the final space shuttle mission on April 29th—which Kelly is set to command. Secondly, Giffords has given little thought to her political future, in spite of buzz that she might run for the Arizona Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jon Kyl next year.
"We haven't discussed any Senate race with her," he says. "And I have no plans to do that for some time. She's focused on her recovery."
Indeed, even if Giffords is given the okay to attend Kelly's shuttle launch later this month, it's unlikely that she'll be seen in public. Asked when his wife might make her first public appearance, Kelly says it's "up to her." But, he added, "I think that's months, not weeks, away."
Giffords, who was shot at point blank range in the head, still has yet to be told all of her attempted assassination. Early on, the congresswoman, who is now in recovery at a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, believed she had been in a car wreck, but Kelly says she began to question why he would skip over parts of newspaper stories he read to her during visits. He decided to tell her she had been shot—though Giffords, he says, still doesn't know the full scale of the attack that killed six people, including a close Giffords aide and a 9-year-old girl, and injured 13 others.
"When she starts asking for more details, we're going to tell her," Kelly tells Newsweek. "But she hasn't asked that specific question yet."
As the New York Times' Marc Lacey reported last month, Arizona Democrats, including several of Giffords' closest political allies, have been quietly laying the groundwork for a potential Senate bid should the injured congresswoman choose to make one. Several of her top supporters held a fund-raiser for her last month, which will at the very least supplement her 2012 re-election bid to Congress—though Democrats clearly are hoping for a Senate run.
"Whether she'll be ready to run or interested in running nobody can say," said Arizona Democratic Party chair Andrei Cherny told the Times. "But there is a sense that she should make that decision and that she should have options once she's ready to make it."
(Photo of Giffords: Susan Walsh/AP)