Congress Stands in Solidarity for Rep. Giffords

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Members of Congress are still in shock over the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., this weekend. For some, the emotions were hard to restrain.

"You know, by every indication that -- I'm sorry," said a shaken Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla. "By every indication, the fighter that, that Gabby Giffords is, is showing full strength."

Click play to watch John Jessup's updated report, followed by comments with licensed therapist and author Dr. Linda Mintle on the possible mental condition of the shooter.

Described as a centrist Democrat, Giffords won a hard-fought campaign last November, earning her third term in Congress. Her colleagues said she's the kind of person who is liked by all who know her.

"Gabby Giffords was a role model," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said. "She was a person who was passionate about issues but very even-tempered in her approach to things. I mean, she was really one of our and is one of our bright lights in the United States Congress."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., confirmed that this week's legislative business would be postponed because of the shooting.

"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serves," he said. "Such acts of violence have no place in our society."

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., took it a step further, saying "Even more broadly than that, it's an attack on our democracy."

Saturday's attack wasn't Gifford's first encounter with violence. Her district office was vandalized last year in the wake of the controversial health care vote, which she supported.

While some suggested the tone of politics as a possible contributing factor to the shooting, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. - also a part of Arizona's congressional delegation - wasn't sure such a link could be made. He said the shooter simply was unstable.

"We should not let people like that be the sentinels of our discourse in politics," Franks said. "We have to be able to have honest, open and even intense debate in this country because truth is a precise thing and we have to exchange our perspectives on that."

On Sunday, 800 people -- members of Congress, their spouses and staffs -- dialed into a bipartisan conference call with House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood and Capitol Hill Chief of Police Phil Morse to address issue of security.

It was something on the minds of many especially since the dead include one of Giffords' staff members.

"It comes with some great risks being in a free republic like this - interacting with our constituents on a close basis," Franks said. "But I will tell you that freedom is worth the risk and Gabby Giffords would even attest to that."

The flag on top of the U.S. Capitol building waves at half-staff. The same is true for the other office buildings on Capitol Hill. It is a sign of solidarity showing that lawmakers stand with Giffords as she fights to recover.

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John Jessup

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.