Political world ponders Giffords' future

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PHOENIX -- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband say they're a few weeks away from making a decision on whether she will run for re-election.

The political world was buzzing Monday, following Giffords' appearance at a memorial in Tucson Sunday night. She delivered the Pledge of Allegiance, showing the crowd the progress she's made in speech therapy classes.

"Last night was really inspiring," said Barry Dill, a Democratic strategist with the First Strategic group. "It's really going to come down to her recovery, and if this is the life she and [Giffords' husband] Mark want to continue to live."

"I've heard a variety of rumors, especially in the last week. Fifty-percent say she's running. Fifty-percent say she's not going to run," said Republican strategist Marcus Dell'Artino.

A representative's life is physically demanding, involving early-morning breakfasts, late-night votes and quite a bit of cross-country travel.

"Sure, it helps to be in great shape, but there are 80-year-old guys who serve and seem to do just fine. Sen. Tim Johnson [of South Dakota] ran for re-election and won big after his stroke," Dill added.

Giffords' staff has been holding weekly video conferences with their boss, and say aside from Giffords herself being in Washington, D.C. to cast votes, all constituent services are running as they always have.

Should she opt to run, Team Giffords already has a campaign fund nearing $1 million.

"I think if she runs, the Republicans will mount a candidate, but they'll have an incredible uphill battle," Dell'Artino said.