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Gabby Giffords greeted by big ovation

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords slowly made her way to the center of the stage Thursday to lead the convention hall in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Unsteady on her feet and in her speech, Giffords received a rousing ovation before blowing kisses to the crowd amid chants of “Gabby, Gabby, Gabby!”

Giffords is continuing to recover from a gunman’s attack in 2011 that killed six people and wounded a dozen others in Tucson, Ariz. She resigned her seat earlier this year.

• Eight years after accepting the presidential nomination himself, Sen. John Kerry was one of the few speakers at the convention to focus on foreign policy. He said President Barack Obama had restored America’s standing in the world, fulfilled promises to end the war in Iraq and defended Israel. “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago,” Kerry said.

• Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist – now an independent – told delegates that his former party had drifted too far to the right, and is now at the mercy of “bullies” that are impossible to work with. He said Ronald Reagan would be too moderate for today’s Republican Party.

• Rep. John Lewis of Georgia took on the GOP-led voter-identification initiatives in a number of states, comparing them to the efforts made to keep blacks from voting in the civil rights era. “I’ve seen this before. I’ve lived this before,” he said. “Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.”

• Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave a personal defense of Obama’s health care law, describing her battle with breast cancer. “I know what it’s like to sit in that waiting room wondering how many more anniversaries you’ll get with your husband or how many more birthdays you’ll celebrate with your kids,” she said. “I don’t care how strong a woman you are, that moment is terrifying. “And in America, no one should have to go through it without health insurance.”

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