Obama calls retiring Giffords an ‘inspiration’

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama is praising Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as an “inspiration” and “the very best of what public service should be.”

Giffords announced Sunday that she intends to resign from Congress this week to concentrate on recovering from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt last January.

Obama praised Giffords for “a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union.”

He says Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, “have taught us the true meaning of hope in the face of despair” and “determination in the face of incredible odds.”

The president says the congresswoman’s “cheerful presence will be missed in Washington.”