October 20th, 2008
09:58 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama to leave trail to visit ailing grandmother

Obama is taking Thursday and Friday to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii.
Obama is taking Thursday and Friday to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii.

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) – Senator Barack Obama will leave the campaign trail Thursday afternoon and travel to Hawaii to visit his grandmother, who is seriously ill.

Robert Gibbs, a senior advisor to Obama, told reporters on the flight from Orlando that 85 year-old Madelyn Dunham’s health “has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious.” Gibbs would not elaborate on the severity of Dunham’s condition, but said the fact that Obama was traveling to see her “underscores the seriousness of the situation.”

Dunham was released from the hospital late last week.

Obama had been scheduled to appear in Wisconsin and Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday. Those events have been canceled. Instead, Obama will do a morning event in Indianapolis, Indiana and then head to Hawaii. He will return to the trail on Saturday with a campaign event in a western state.

His campaign will continue to function normally and in no way is being suspended.

Obama often speaks on the stump about his grandmother, what an integral figure she was in his youth and how she struggled against the glass ceiling in her career. He and his family traveled to Hawaii in August to visit Dunham.

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Obama said of his grandmother: “She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (560 Responses)
  1. Amy

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Sen. Obama. Godspeed.

    October 20, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. Marylou

    GOd Bless your Grandmother Senator Obama. I will have her in my prayers, along with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Matt MC

    Spend as much time as you can with her! All this means is that Obama supporters need to step it up while he is gone. That means volunteering! Go out and vote early!

    October 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. unknown

    Sen. Obama, may your grandmom have a quick recovery. Our prayer with you...

    October 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. jayball

    Thoughts and prayer's to you and your family

    October 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Patricia in Ohio

    I am so sorry to hear about his grandmother. My prayers are with him and his family. But that is why I know he is the right man for the job. A man that loves his grandmother that much means that she has taught him the values of how to care for others. He will care for our country the same way. God Bless You Mr. President Obama on your travels to see your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  7. MBru

    Senator Obama, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, from my family to yours. God Bless you all.

    October 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  8. Abby from Florida

    god speed.

    October 20, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Charlie

    My prayers are with you and your mother.

    October 20, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. chuks

    don worry barack ..she'll be ok. she'll live to see you win and succeed in the presidency.

    October 20, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. Scoti

    I hope that she recovers from her illness and gets the chance to see her grandson hopefully win the presidency.

    October 20, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. phil

    we wish her good health and may God healing be upon her. where is jack cafferty Cnn? have you guys fired jack who was the only person that was telling us the truth? where is jack cafferty CNN?

    October 20, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. Yolanda

    My prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong Barack and know that your grandmother loves you and is proud of all of your accomplishments.

    October 20, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. salem

    Senator Obama and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Your Grandma loves you very much, and you are so right to go to her at this time. Please know we all pray for her, and for you. May God bless.

    October 20, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  15. cjt

    Senior Obama,

    Very sorry to hear your Grandmother is ill. I'm praying for you , your Grandmother and the rest of your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. soulstar

    best wishes senator obama. your have encouraged and inspired us! but this reminds us that you too are human.

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Mark Kahle

    Barack, our Prayers are with you, go see your grandmother, we will take care of things on this end...

    Independant for Obama!

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. hmm...

    you are in our thoughts and prayers~

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. Eric

    Many thoughts and prayers are with you Sen Obama. Put your grandmother first and come back and protect the rest of us, we will be patiently waiting.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  20. sophia nyc

    We wish her well.

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Jamal

    Wishing speedy recovery for your grandmother ,Senator.

    October 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. tyme4chaing

    May God deliver your Grandmother from hurt, harm, and danger. May God speed your return to the Mainland. I will be casting my for you this week. Early voting is great.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    October 20, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. konjo

    May God give you strength President Obama!

    October 20, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. Loray White

    Best Wishes to your grandmother and remaining family members. My family's heartfelt prayers go out to you as you deal in these tumultuous times. God be with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. CL in Florida

    Sending prayers your way !

    October 20, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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