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President, politicians react to Giffords' resignation

Word of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' decision to resign quickly spread Sunday. Family, colleagues and the president responded to the news with praise for the congresswoman, sadness at her departure from the House, and well wishes for her future.

President Barack Obama issued the following statement:

"Gabby Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be.  She’s universally admired for qualities that transcend party or ideology – a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union.  That’s why the people of Arizona chose Gabby – to speak and fight and stand up for them.  That’s what brought her to a supermarket in Tucson last year – so she could carry their hopes and concerns to Washington. And we know it is with the best interests of her constituents in mind that Gabby has made the tough decision to step down from Congress.

"Over the last year, Gabby and her husband Mark have taught us the true meaning of hope in the face of despair, determination in the face of incredible odds, and now – even after she’s come so far – Gabby shows us what it means to be selfless as well.

"Gabby’s cheerful presence will be missed in Washington.  But she will remain an inspiration to all whose lives she touched – myself included.  And I’m confident that we haven’t seen the last of this extraordinary American."

U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday morning:

"Cindy and I join our fellow Arizonans in thanking Gabby Giffords for her service in the U.S. Congress and to her constituents in Southern Arizona. Gabby’s courage in the face of tragedy inspired our nation and made all Arizonans proud. We wish Gabby and her family all the best in the future."

Gifford's Southern Arizona Democratic colleague, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva told TucsonSentinel.com:

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"It's more of a pause than an end. In public life, there's always going to be a place for Gabby. I really think Gabby's doing what's best for her. Her recovery is number one."

Gov. Jan Brewer issued this statement:

“Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been a noble public servant to the State of Arizona, and a model of what can be accomplished with persistence and determination. Her remarkable recovery over the last year is an inspiration to us all.

“As with all Americans, I will continue to hold Gabby in my thoughts and prayers as she continues on this path toward recovery."

Giffords husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly said:

“While Gabby has been working hard with a grueling schedule of rehabilitation, her mind has never been far from Arizona and her responsibility to serving her constituents the only way she knows how — by giving 100 percent. While Gabby was hopeful that she would return to work this year, she has recently determined that it will take more time.”

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild posted the following on his Facebook page:

"Gabby, Tucson loves you. We wish you all the best in your amazing recovery. We are grateful for your service in Congress and, before that, in the Arizona legislature. I know that you will continue to inspire, to lead, and to accomplish great things."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Giffords a "bright star" in a statement:

"Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been a true bright star — a dynamic and creative public servant. Gabby's message of bipartisanship and civility is one that all in Washington and the nation should honor and emulate. Since the tragic events one year ago, Gabby has been an inspiring symbol of determination and courage to millions of Americans.

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"I join all my colleagues in Congress in thanking Gabby for the honor of calling her colleague and wishing Gabby and Mark great success and happiness. She will be missed in the House of Representatives, but her legacy in the Congress and her leadership for our nation will certainly continue."

House Speaker John Boehner echoed Pelosi in a statement on Twitter:

"I salute Rep. Giffords for her service, and for the courage and perseverance she has shown in the face of tragedy. She will be missed."

Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll said on Facebook:

"Wishing Gabby Giffords all the best in her recovery, her grit and determination shows there is no denying that she is truly a daughter of Arizona. Many blessings on Gabby and Mark in this new chapter in their lives."

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement:

"The entire nation has felt like one of Gabrielle Giffords' constituents. She will be deeply missed by her friends and colleagues in Congress.

"Today, Gabrielle is proving once again that she is a true public servant — putting the needs of her constituents ahead of her own. Her commitment to her constituents leaves a legacy that humbles us. We all thank her and honor her service and we thank her staff for their steadfast courage and unyielding devotion in the face of the unimaginable.

"We look forward to working with a Democratic candidate who fits this district and shares those values that Gabrielle holds dear to carry on her work."

Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny released the following statement:

"Gabby Giffords' tenacity and generous spirit have always made her the example of what is best in Arizona. As she said today, nothing can change what happened last January. But in her time in public life, she has changed Arizona and America for the better. As she continues her work on her recovery, I have no doubt she will also continue to work for and inspire all of us in so many ways in the years to come."

Tucson City Councilman city Richard Fimbres posted the following on Facebook:

"Gabby's, courage, leadership and spirit will be missed by not only Arizonans but by all Americans. Her Courage has been a model for all in this world. God Bless her in her recovery."

U.S. Rep., Jeff Flake, R-Mesa, said:

"Gabby is a class act whose accomplishments and dedication to bettering our state and nation will continue in the years to come.  She has been and will continue to be an effective advocate for the issues and causes that she cares deeply about.

"I want to be sure to pass along thanks to Gabby's amazing staff. They have done a remarkable job in continuing to faithfully and respectfully serve the people of Arizona's 8th District over the last year."

Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general and a U.S. Senate candidate:

"Gabby's courage is inspirational and her enthusiasm for public service is infectious. I've never seen a public official work harder to serve their constituents than Gabby. She and I participated in a number of health care town halls together and her strength has always been palpable. In addition to being a great and caring friend to all that know her, she is the model for the kind of leadership that we need in this country. I know in the months and years to come she will continue to fight hard to help others and for the values she believes in."

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords smiles at the crowd during the candlelight vigil on the first anniversary of the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting.