*President Barack Obama mourned victims of an Arizona gunman on Monday and steered clear of a debate on whether harsh political rhetoric inspired the attack on a congresswoman.

As many members of his own Democratic Party decried the often rabid level of political discourse in the country, Obama said he is grieving for the victims and their families and honoring those who apparently prevented more deaths.

The president will travel to Arizona on Wednesday to attend a memorial service for the victims of the shooting attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, a U.S. official said. Victims included a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

Giffords is in critical condition with a gunshot to the brain. She had been holding a “Congress on Your Corner” meeting with constituents near a grocery store when she was attacked.

“Right now the main thing we’re doing is to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who’ve been impacted, making sure that we’re joining together and pulling together as a country,” Obama said.

Bowing their heads solemnly, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paused for a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn on a cold, windy day in Washington.

Read MORE of this story at Reuters.