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SEATTLE (AP) — She has delivered the same 64-word speech eight times already, but Gabby Giffords is struggling to get through the ninth.
"Together, we can win elections," the former Arizona congresswoman tells her Seattle audience before starting to stumble.
After a moment of confused silence, an aide whispers the next line, and Giffords continues the broken sentence: "... change our laws."
Four years after she was shot in the head and went on to inspire millions with her recovery, Giffords is as committed as ever to pushing for tighter gun-control laws. But in the final days of this year's midterm elections, few candidates are willing to rally to her cause. There's little to suggest those elected next week will pursue the changes she seeks in the nation's gun laws.
As Giffords visited nine states in the past two weeks, the National Rifle Association was working in at least 30, with advertising and get-out-the-vote manpower, to strengthen its position in Washington and state capitals. She will be widely outspent this year by the NRA and others who support the rights of gun owners.
Two days after Giffords' appearance in Seattle, a 15-year-old high school student shot and killed two people and killed himself in an attack north of the city that seriously wounded three others. The shooting has barely made a ripple in the final days of the campaign.
"Long, hard haul," Giffords told The Associated Press in a brief interview after her Seattle event, using one of the short phrases that now dominate her speech.
In part by design, but also in recognition of the country's political landscape, not a single candidate in this year's midterm elections for statewide or federal office appeared with Giffords as she made her way from Maine to Washington state over 10 days.
She drew visits from Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, neither running for re-election next month.
"If this happened in March or December or any other time, we'd have asked other politicians to join," said Marti Anderson, an Iowa state lawmaker who helped organize a Giffords event in Des Moines. "But it's risky 15 days before an election."
Instead, Giffords took part in a series of discussions about domestic violence in smaller venues such as a Des Moines public library and a high school classroom in Portland, Ore. With the Senate majority at stake, Giffords isn't running television ads in states where Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election, among them North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Hampshire.
The exception is Iowa, where her group announced plans this week to run television ads against Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. "Joni Ernst won't vote to close the loophole that lets some dangerous people still get guns," Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald says in the ad set to run through Election Day.
Said Pia Carusone, Giffords' longtime chief aide, "We went in knowing we had to be strategic and careful."
The NRA has no such concerns. The powerful gun-rights lobby has spent more than $27.3 million this year on elections in at least 27 states through Oct. 15, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Giffords' organization, by contrast, has spent just $6.6 million in seven states.
The financial advantage is just one piece of the NRA's strength.
"Anyone who tries to gauge the National Rifle Association by money alone is making a huge mistake," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, citing 5 million dues-paying members and many more voters who look to his organization for guidance on how to vote on Election Day.
Arulanandam said he's grateful that Giffords is "on the mend and getting better every day," but he criticized her political goals. "People realize that regardless of what she says, her endgame is similar to Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, which is draconian gun control," he said.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have gone to great lengths to rebut such criticism. Recently, with little sign that an effort to adopt universal background checks will pass in Congress, Giffords has focused on promoting a measure that would prevent convicted stalkers and abusive "dating partners" from accessing guns.
In a letter opposing the measure, the NRA says it "manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as 'domestic violence' and 'stalking' simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions."
Giffords' team was initially hopeful, but it now concedes that the bill is not likely to come up in Congress' lame-duck session. And while the mood was largely positive during Giffords' tour, the frustration they're not connecting with voters this election season was evident.
"It's hard not to be, as a person in this country, disappointed by the lack of response," Carusone said. "But we're not surprised. We knew this wouldn't be easy."
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords will begin a nine-state tour in Maine, where she will advocate for tougher gun laws that she says will help protect women and families.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, who was severely wounded in a 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six people, will seek to elevate the issue of gun violence against women and push for state and federal action to make it more difficult for domestic abusers to access firearms.
Giffords, who was shot in the head, remains partially paralyzed and continues to have difficulty speaking.
On the first stop of the "Protect All Women Tour" in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday, Giffords planned to meet with state domestic violence advocates, law enforcement officials and others.
Giffords' gun-control advocacy group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, calls guns and domestic violence "a lethal mix," noting that abuse victims are more than five times more likely to be killed if the aggressor has access to a gun.
Among the changes Giffords has sought is to include people with misdemeanor-level stalking crimes among those who are prohibited from buying firearms and to expand background checks to ensure that domestic violence abusers can't buy firearms at gun shows.
After visiting Maine, Giffords will travel to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Iowa and Oregon. The last stop of the tour will be in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 22, according to details a Giffords aide provided to The Associated Press.
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, did a similar tour across the country last year, focused on garnering support for expanded background checks.
What is the big deal about public education these days? Does it really have an effect on my life if I don’t have children attending the public schools? The Justice Policy Institute issued a report in 2007 on Education and Public Safety. Research results found that “a 5-percent increase in male high school graduation rates would produce an annual savings (in the state) of almost $5 billion in crime-related expenses.” Are you aware that the Arizona high school graduation rate has fallen below the national average? Public Safety is the main concern of police departments across the state. Who, then, did the Arizona Police Association choose to endorse for Gilbert School Board? Jill Humpherys and Charles Santa Cruz.
NEW YORK — An exhibit of quilts, clothing, uniforms and other Civil War-era textiles reveals a complicated and heart-wrenching time.
This photo provided by the New-York Historical Society shows the 1820 “Candlewick” bedcover, quilted in exquisite detail in a white pearl and floral design on natural linen by Thankful Williams, of Mystic, Connecticut, on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society. It was made from a bale of cotton presented to her ship captain husband by a Charleston family grateful to him for safely delivering their baby aboard his ship. After leaving New York, the “Homefront and Battlefield” will be on view at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, from September 20, 2014 to January 1. (AP Photo/New-York Historical Society, Gavin Ashworth)
WASHINGTON — Genetically modified foods have been around for years, but most people in the United States have no idea if they are eating them.
Hamilton sat atop the state’s baseball power rankings all season — the Huskies also have been nationally ranked by publications such as Baseball America and are Max Preps’ No. 1 team in the country — so it was no surprise which team received the No. 1 seed in the Division I state tournament.
The Education Department on Thursday took the unprecedented step of releasing the names of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a Title IX investigation over their handling of sexual abuse complaints.
AP- On its surface, "The Other Woman" is a very welcome thing: A movie starring talented, funny women with their own punch lines and everything. In the movies, this is bizarrely rare.
BALTIMORE — The odds have long been stacked against students like those in Edward Ennels' remedial math classes at Baltimore City Community College.
Hamilton came out fighting, unfortunately, they were missing 2 of their varsity players. Early in the match, it did not seem to matter much, they took 1st sets on courts 1, 2, and 6, while the Mt. Lions took 1st sets on courts 3,4, and 5. First court to finish was court 5 going for Red Mt. Then, the Lions quickly took court 3. The Huskies were playing phenomenal taking courts 2 and 6. Score all tied up at two, sound familiar? Court 1 eventually goes to Red Mt. in third set tie-breaker 10-4, as another unfortunate thing happens to Hamilton, there #1 player goes down to ankle injury. Red Mt. led 3 matches to 2 as court 4 went to Lions.
Courtesy of Red Mountain boys tennis coach Terry Graves: What a match. It was unbelievable. Came down to 3 tie-breakers to decide it.
The ASU Association of Filmmakers will host a fundraiser on March 25 at 8 p.m. in room COOR 170 on the ASU Tempe campus.
LOS ANGELES — Millions of pets across America live like little humans these days — and as long as people treat them that way, pet spending should keep climbing after a record 2013, industry spokesman Bob Vetere said Thursday.
Dear Arizona House of Representatives,
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Connecticut could become the first state to curb loud movies under proposed legislation that's drawing opposition from the Motion Picture Association of America.
Incoming Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto officially signed a contract that will pay her at least $200,000 per year on the same night the district’s governing board hired its second interim superintendent since July.
NEW YORK — Traditionally, the American male was measured against the stoic hero who shook off all doubts, vanquished all foes and offered women a muscular shoulder to cry on.
A few months of searching to find a permanent leader for the district concluded on Feb. 11 with the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board’s vote to hire a new superintendent, although the decision came amid controversy over the process.
When the night got tough, Hamilton conveniently remembered what's gotten its boys soccer team to this point for five years running.
Do your young ones balk at bedtime? Get gnarly at naptime?
“If officer-involved shootings are not investigated and handled correctly and thoroughly, the involved agency, individual officer(s), and entire criminal justice system will likely face severe criticism, loss of public trust and confidence.” -- Crime Scene Handbook, by Dr. Henry Lee, Ph.D., the former director of the Connecticut State Police Crime Lab and a world-renowned forensic scientist.
Gasoline prices around Arizona are slightly lower at the pump this week.
Gasoline prices around Arizona are slightly higher again at the pump this week.Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $3.24 a gallon. That’s an increase of almost a penny from last week.This week’s national average is at $3.28 per gallon, down by nearly 2 cents last week.Tucson has Arizona’s lowest average gasoline price at $3.17 a gallon and Flagstaff has the highest at $3.34.Missouri has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $2.99 a gallon with Connecticut having the highest at $3.66 a gallon.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Worried about the groom getting cold feet? There's an insurance policy for that.