A giant get-well card for Rep. Giffords

A giant get-well card for recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) made its way through both Republican and Democratic House cloakrooms late last week, garnering so many notes and signatures from lawmakers that there wasn’t any room left on it to write.

Initially suggested by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the card was organized by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office and features Mickey Mouse on the cover. It measures about 2 feet by 3 feet, according to those who signed it. 

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The card split time between the GOP and Dem cloakrooms Tuesday through Friday afternoon, collecting legions of well-wishes.

According to Hoyer’s spokesman, the card will make its way to Houston soon, where Giffords’s spokesman, CJ Karamargin, said that an aide will read Giffords each of the personal notes.

“She can absolutely understand the messages and who they are from,” he said. “Last week we sent her a card from the Tucson office family, and she was so delighted.”

Karamargin said the card reflects Giffords’s strong personal relationships with many of her colleagues in Congress. “This is what friends do. They wish each other well in times of need.” 

For her part, Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.) told ITK that she wrote, “Gabby, you are my she-ro. Hurry back.” A she-ro, Emerson explained, is a female hero.

Emerson penned the note during the card’s stopover in the Republican cloakroom Thursday, but she said she would have happily traipsed over to the Dems’ inner sanctum “in a second” to sign the card if it were there. 

Emerson added that she first crossed the cloakroom divide a few years ago, albeit for an unlikely reason: ice cream. “Democrats used to have the best fudgesicles in their cloakroom,” she recalled, “so I’d pop in there for a snack whenever I needed one.” 

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) isn’t afraid of the other team’s bench, either. “I used to chase [Rep.] Cliff Stearns [R-Fla.] into the Republican cloakroom whenever I needed to talk to him,” she said, referencing their time as chairwoman and ranking member of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue. Berkley signed the card for Giffords on Friday, noting, “There’s no escaping me once I put my mind to something.” 

Additional Friday signatories included Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Butterfield walked off the House floor and exclaimed, “I signed it. It was great!”