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Tucson, Arizona (CNN) — When President Barack Obama said Wednesday night that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since being shot on Saturday, an overflow crowd of nearly 30,000 people at a memorial event erupted into cheers that the congresswoman may have heard in her hospital room.

Obama said he learned of the eye-opening from Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.


“She knows we’re here, and she knows we love her,and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey,” the president said at a memorial in Tucson to honor the victims of the shooting.

Giffords is still listed in critical condition at the University of Arizona’s University Medical Center. Suspect Jared Loughner allegedly fired at her first, striking her in the head.