First Photos Of Giffords Released Since Shooting

HOUSTON (AP) - Two portraits of a smiling Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gave the nation its closest look yet at the congresswoman's remarkable recovery less than six months after she was shot in the head at point-blank range outside a supermarket.

In one of the images, Giffords smiles broadly and looks straight at the camera like a high school student posing for a yearbook. In another, more candid shot, she is grinning alongside her mother. In both, her smile is largely unchanged, though her hair is shorter and darker.

The pictures give few indications she has been hurt, let alone shot in the forehead. Gifford's aides say she could be ready to be released from a rehabilitation center later this month or in early July.