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Tucson survivor: Giffords 'makes me want to vomit'

Laura Segall / Reuters

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (center), who suffered a head wound in the Tuscon shooting, smiles after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a memorial service marking the anniversary of the shooting, at the University of Arizona campus Jan. 8, 2012.

A former Marine whose wife of 54 years was killed last year in the Tucson shootings that left six dead and 13 injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has strong feelings about the Arizona lawmaker and her retired astronaut husband, Mark Kelly.

"Every time I see them on TV," George Morris  told the Arizona Republic, "it makes me want to vomit."

He said he and his wife had gone to Giffords' town-hall meeting outside the grocery store in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011, to complain to his congresswoman, who he says kept voting for liberal causes.

But before he had a chance to vent his anger, a gunman began shooting people in the crowd. Morris' wife, Dorothy, 76, was killed in the rampage, and he was hit in the legs and back. Giffords was shot in the head.

In the days following the shooting, Morris, a self-described "ultraconservative," even refused an invitation to have President Barack Obama visit him in his hospital room, the Arizona Republic reported.

"I will not kowtow to anyone," he told the newspaper. "People would not believe that I would refuse the president."

Jared Lee Loughner, 23, has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the shooting. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is  being forcibly medicated at a Missouri prison facility in an effort to make him mentally ready for trial.

The Arizona city pauses to recall the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that left six people dead and 13 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

On Sunday, the anniversary of the event, Giffords and her husband attended a remembrance at the University of Arizona. The congresswoman, who has spent the past year in Houston undergoing intensive physical and speech therapy, led the crowd of hundreds in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Morris, who had campaigned on behalf of Giffords' opponent in the 2010 election, said he didn't think Giffords should be in office then or now.

"I think she ought to be thrown out of Congress posthaste," Morris told the Arizona Republic. "I do not think she is worthy of serving."

He also said Giffords' husband should have had better security in place to protect his wife, knowing she was a target of death threats.

"I'd like to debate our dear captain astronaut (and ask) why he didn't have security," Morris told the Arizona Republic. "My wife would still be alive."

It was unclear why he thought Kelly should have been involved in security for an official event held for a member of Congress.

Morris said he understands his comments about the congresswoman and her husband are controversial, especially among surviving relatives and victims of the shootings.

But he said the violence outside the Tucson grocery store has not changed his opinion on Giffords' politics.

"Either you stand for what you believe in or you stand for nothing at all," Morris said.

Morris met his wife when they were juniors in high school. He told the Arizona Republic that they shared a great marriage of 54 years. "I can tell you no man has ever loved a woman more than I loved my wife," he said.

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