October 20th, 2008
09:58 PM ET
6 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. turning IN blue from Chicago

    God bless the Obama family and Mrs. Durham. May she have a speedy recovery and be able to see her beloved grandson be elected President of the United States.

    (And it's not even worth stressing you self out over by going to look at the threads at FOX. It is unbelievable how twisted some people are.)

    October 20, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. Kelly

    Which of the candidates is the best moral example: the one who takes time off to visit his ailing grandmother, or the one who dumped his ailing wife to marry his vacuous Barbie-doll mistress?

    October 20, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. Heather

    I'm sure Mrs. Dunham appreciates her grandson at her bedside.

    Barack Obama kepts mentioning how he's able to withstand these smears from the Republicans but it never occured to me about what all these smears do to his ailing Granny.

    October 20, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  4. georgia welwood

    Senator Obama, God bless and heal your grand mother. Be of good courage.

    October 20, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Cheryl1026

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

    October 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. raylene

    Our prayers are with you and your grandmother Mr. Obama. My whole family voted early for you sir, go with God.

    October 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Jamie,Hattiesburg,MS

    You know,I love Barrack Oboma.He embodies everything that I am, I went to see my grandfather this past weekend because he has been ill and he is 79 years old.I told my job that I was taking off 2 days to go and see him because he was so important in my up bringing and because i love him that much.Nothing means as much as family,especially grandparents.He's been dealing with Altminers disease but I told him, I said "POP", thats what we call him,We're going to have a Black president in November.If I could paint you a picture of the smile on his face it would be on the front cover of every major paper.Even he understands the significance of this election and what it means to this country and the world.So Senator Oboma take out this time to share this moment with your grandmother.Send her home with her head high and proud of this generationn.

    October 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. barbara

    Our family is praying for you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. raylene

    Our hope is that you will find your grandmother improving. Bless you.

    October 20, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. winipeg canada

    my prayers are with the obama family

    October 20, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. paula

    I have no doubt that Obama's grandmother is extremely proud of the man he became. I am thankful for all she poured into him and I pray she will live to see him become our next president.

    October 20, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. Terri/Texas

    You are truly a man of honor and integrity. May God be with you on your trip and put his arms around your grandmother so that she may see you become our next president and know what a part she played.

    October 20, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  13. nancois

    Judge a man not only by his words but by his actions.

    Obama is an honorable man and I look forward to his Presidency.

    October 20, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  14. Natasha in tally

    God bless Barack and his family. Go with him and keep his safe.
    Obama 08

    October 20, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  15. ginger

    Sen. Obama, all of your supporters wish you and your family the very best during this difficult time.

    October 20, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. jmschange08

    Senator Obama our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.
    May the Lord keep you and bless her as she recovers. You are surrounding with abiding love, prayers and GOD's hand. We will lift her in the spirit of our LORD. You are a true inspiration, NO WEAPON
    FORMED AGANIST YOU SHALL PROSPER!!! Thank you

    October 20, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. Bony A. Bengwayan Jr

    God bless you senator Obama and God bless your grandma. You exhibit the best in a grandson that America's forefathers truly nod their heads in approval

    October 20, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. ohio

    God bless you adn your family keep it strong Obama we love you and support you keep fighting hard for us

    October 20, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  19. blen

    May the Lord guide you and encourage you through your grandma's illness. I pray God stretches his hand and heals her and washes her with his blood and make her whole.

    October 20, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  20. Hillary Supporter

    I pray for the healing of your grandmother. YOU ARE A VERY GOOD MAN and you have a good heart. I pray that God would spare her life so that she can see you in the White House.Sen Obama you are part of my family.WE LOVE YOU.

    October 20, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Sherry/NE

    Senator Obama our prayers are with you and your family.

    Dear God please watch over Senator Obama's Grandma and keep her well so that she be there to see her beloved Grandson become our next President.

    Amen

    October 20, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  22. N. Rosado

    Sen. Obama, I hope your grandmother is able to recover soon. She must be an amazing women to have been able to raise such a respectable man. I hope America wakes up and sends you to the White House.

    October 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  23. Myles, New Orleans

    My Prayers are with you and your family and may the Lord allow her to see you finish this race for the President of the United States.

    October 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. Alistair

    My Praise go out to Barack and his grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. AMGC

    I hope Barack sees these comments and the support he and his family have. My thoughts are with them all.

    October 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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