Politics

First Photos of Gabrielle Giffords Since Shooting

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

We are getting our first look at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot in January. Her office posted two photos of the Arizona congresswoman on her Facebook page on Sunday.

In the first one, she is sitting next to her mother (above). A second photo shows her looking into the camera and smiling.

She looks like her usual self, save for her hair shorter and darker than in past photos, as well as a tracheotomy scar on her throat. The Associated Press reports the photos were taken on May 17 at her rehabilitation hospital in Houston.

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Giffords could soon be leaving the hospital. Giffords's chief of staff told the AP last Friday that she could leave by the end of the month. Pia Carusone said Giffords wants to return home to Arizona, where she would likely continue outpatient care.

Carusone said Giffords has improved dramatically but still has trouble communicating. She said it's unclear when -- or if-- she would return to Congress.

Asked for a "blunt assessment" of Giffords condition, Carusone, replied, "She's living. She's alive. But if she were to plateau today, and this was as far as she gets, it would not be nearly the quality of life she had before."