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. Sue in MI

    Blessings and peace to you and your family Senator. We'll keep you all in our prayers this week!

    October 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. wb

    Senator Obama, we will keep your family and your grandmother in our prayers at this difficult time. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

    October 20, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Sam

    May she be alive and well when you become the next President, Barack.

    October 20, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. Trasa, Texas

    I'll pray for her and your family President Obama. I know she is very proud of you, just like your mother would have been if she was still with us. Go and take care of her, us supporters will continue working for you. God Bless!

    October 20, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. TPnTN

    My prayers are with you, your family, and for your safe travel!!

    God Bless!

    October 20, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. we need something new- from OH

    may God bless Obama and his grandmother and the rest of his family.

    October 20, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  7. Pat Pa.

    God Bless you and your family Senator Obama.

    You are going where you should be going. I'm sure that your grandmother will want you by her side.

    Godspeed !

    October 20, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. Ken

    God bless you Mrs. Dunham. You have helped produced a fine man and I pray for your health.

    Obama 08

    October 20, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. Texas Mom for Obama

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family Senator Obama. We wish your grandmother well. Obama supporters, let's take up the slack while he is away. Make phone calls, knock on doors, go vote!

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  10. Obama 4 life

    May God bless Senator Obama and his grandmother.May God speed her recovery to see you elected as the next president of the USA.

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. The Foley's

    President Obama, We will fight in your stead while you go to your grandmother. You, your family and your grandmother are in our prayers. Your grandmother will see you sworn in as the next president. God bless her for her sacrafices and for raising such a wonderful man and our leader. Little did she know that she would some day give us the greatest president in my lifetime and maybe one of the greatest ever. God knows he will face the biggest challenges ever. I know God will be with you and your grandmother. I can only imagine the love you must share. We've got tour back, but more importantly, God has you protected in His hands. God Bless you.

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. David Stein

    Now if only Palin could take a break and help out with her young, young, special needs son and her pregnant teenage daughter who undoubtedly needs her mother./

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  13. Sherry

    May God bless Senator Obama and may God bless Mrs. Dunham and keep her safe in His warm and loving embrace in the hollow of His hands.

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  14. Scott VA

    Senator Obama my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope your grandmother is well enough to attend your Inauguration in Jan '09.

    October 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. BV

    How will McCain/Palin use this against Obama?

    Lord, please let her see her Grandson become the next President of the United States.

    October 20, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  16. Gino

    Well done. Your grandmother helped raise you well. Godspeed.

    October 20, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. Janice

    We are praying for your grandmother to be strenghtened and healed Senator Obama; grandmothers are oh so special.

    October 20, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. hawaii voter

    Welcome home, Barack. Our best wishes and prayers to your grandmother and you. :)

    October 20, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    I pray she live long enough to see the fruit of her life long sacrifices i.e. the presidency of Obama.

    October 20, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  20. Joseph Adewole

    I wish her well, God will spare her life to witness her grand son entering The White House as The President of America.

    October 20, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. black white

    I hope the supporters out there on both ends sees that his black & white.

    CNN please post!!!

    October 20, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  22. This one is for That One

    God be with you and your grandmother. She raised a remarkable grandson and I pray that she will be witness to your inauguration. What a proud moment that will be for her.

    October 20, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  23. june

    I will pray that she lives to see his inaguration on January 20.

    October 20, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  24. Denise

    She must be an amazing woman to have helped raise someone as incredible as Barack Obama. God bless her and keep her well.

    :)

    October 20, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  25. Mike, FL

    I am afraid the McCain and the shameless Reps will attack him while Obama is away from compaigning and on the side of his terminally ill grand mother.

    October 20, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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