Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Reacts Emotionally To Arizona Shooting (VIDEO)

01/09/2011 01:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) spoke emotionally about the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the tragedy that unfolded in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday.

Holding back tears, Wasserman-Schultz described her colleague and close friend as "a fighter" when asked about her condition as she remains hospitalized.

"You know, even when she's in the midst of the kind of strife that is going on in southern Arizona with the immigration laws and the battleground that Arizona has been, she really always looks on the bright side," she said of her friend. "She's a glass is half full kind of person."

Even in a toxic politic political climate, Wasserman-Schultz said that Giffords is "the kind of person that tries to see the good in everyone." She described her colleague as "the most open, warm and sweet woman."

Later in the program, the Florida Democrat was asked if the tragedy in Arizona comes as a wakeup call to members of congress when it comes to matters of security and holding public events.

"I think it needs to be a wakeup call for members who have treated their own personal security in a cavalier way," she said, adding that she regularly has officiers present at her own public meetings.

"It's not just our personal safety," she explained. "It's also the personal safety of our constituents... the people in the room are all subject to a security risk. And so we need to strike a balance."

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz released the following statement on Saturday in response to the tragedy:

"I am sickened by the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and others today in Arizona.

"Gabby is one of my closest friends and my thoughts and prayers are with Mark, Gabby's parents, and their family as they struggle to get through this unimaginable tragedy. I pray for her full recovery and the recovery of the other victims of this horrific act of senseless violence."

"Anyone who knows Gabby, knows that she is one of the nicest people you will meet. I've never heard her raise her voice in anger or express anything but optimism for our future and our nation.

"Just two days after she stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and read from the 1st Amendment of the Constitution guaranteeing free speech, she was shot while speaking with her constituents. The interaction of a Member of Congress with the people they represent is one of the greatest tenets of our democracy. I know how strongly Gabby feels about being accessible to the people that she represents.

"I know from our many hours spent together that Gabby ran for Congress for one reason, to make America a better place and after her recent reelection, she made the following statement: 'Our country must be strong enough to solve problems and that means we must learn how to work together again. Our children are counting on us.'

"To her staff and the family members of her staff and Judge John Roll killed in this shooting I extend my deep sympathy and prayers. No one, not a Member of Congress, nor a dedicated public servant should have to fear for their safety while working to uphold our democracy.

"And to the people and family members of the public attacked at this event, you are in my thoughts and prayers. The American public should not have to worry that they will suffer a violent attack while carrying out their right to petition their government.

"My husband and I will be praying as hard as we can that Gabby pulls through this and makes a full recovery so she can be the bright light that she has always been to her family and friends."

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