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Intern: News of Giffords Opening Eyes "Elation"

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama applaud as Daniel Hernandez, a intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is introduced at a memorial service for the victims of Saturday's shootings at McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
TUCSON, Ariz. - The intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords credited with saving her life says hearing that she had opened her eyes was the first time anyone around her "really got a genuine smile" on their faces in days.

Daniel Hernandez said Thursday on CBS' "The Early Show" that the news delivered by President Barack Obama during a memorial speech was "pure elation" because nobody had been told.

"I don't think words can really describe how happy everyone is, not just myself but everyone who is a part of the new Giffords family was when we heard this news," he said.

The 20-year-old University of Arizona political science student sat next to Mr. Obama Wednesday during the service and appeared to tear up after the crowd broke into applause at Mr. Obama's tribute for him.

"When I did get a chance to meet with him he was saying that he was very proud. And he expressed how proud he was of not just me but everyone in Tucson and everyone in Arizona," he said.

Hernandez applied pressure to Giffords' wounds after she was shot Saturday.

He spoke before the president and rejected the label of hero, saying those involved in public service are true heroes.