Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been cleared by her doctors to watch her husband, Mark Kelly, launch into space aboard the shuttle Endeavor on its final mission Friday. Giffords hasn't been seen in public since she was shot in the head January 8, and though her doctors say her speedy recovery puts her in the top 5 percent of patients recovering from such an injury, Giffords might not have progressed as far as the public thinks.

Her staffers--and many in the Arizona Democratic Party--want Giffords to run for Senate in 2012, but that's a long way down the road to recovery. Giffords speaks mostly single words or declarative phrases like "love you" or "awesome" or "I miss Tuscon," The Arizona Republic's Jaimee Rose reports. Her hair is about 2 inches long and she has a fading scar across her forehead.

Despite the encouraging announcement, Giffords will be secluded from the crowds watching the liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. President Obama and his family will attend, as will other victims of the Jared Lee Loughner shooting and the doctors who helped saved them, the Republic's Dan Nowicki and Ken Alltucker write.