CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In what was supposed to be a big surprise, but got leaked in advance, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) delivered the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night.

Giffords, whose name was never listed on the convention schedule, appeared onstage with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is a close friend of Giffords and is also the DNC chairwoman.

Giffords' speech and mobility were impaired in the Tucson shootings that nearly took her life in January 2011, so Wasserman Schultz took the lead in walking and Giffords recited the pledge.

The former congresswoman beamed the whole time she was on stage. As she went through the pledge, people in the arena recited it along with her. When she was done, members of the audience erupted into cheers of "Gabby! Gabby!" Many cried. Giffords waved back and made her way offstage.

Giffords has kept a low profile since leaving Congress in January to focus on her physical therapy. But she signaled this week that she's not leaving the political arena: She launched a new political action committee, Gabby PAC.

CORRECTION: 8:40 p.m. -- An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Wasserman Schultz as Republican. She is, of course, a Democrat.

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  • Gabrielle Giffords At Democratic National Convention

    Chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz (L) and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords embrace at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). US President Barack Obama is expected to accept the nomination from the DNC to run for a second term as president. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) says the Pledge of Allegiance on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (R) during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) waves on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (L) during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) hugs her husband former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) walks on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (L) during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)