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. gl

    My God be with you President to be Obama. Keep the faith.

    October 20, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. ABetterTomorrow

    Oh my, I hope his grandmother will pull through. I offer my condolences and I'll pray for her health.

    October 20, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  3. Greg

    God Bless Sen McCain for putting up with Obama during last Wedenesdays debate.

    October 20, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  4. Samantha

    Senator Obama, you have a lot of support and prayers! We are with you! I wish you all the best. You are a very honorable man! We love you!

    October 20, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. Peahen

    I, too, pray that she gets better to see her grandson become the next president of the United States.

    October 20, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  6. Sheko, Kansas City MO

    Our prayers are with you President Obama. May God bless your grandma with speedy recovery and to the grace to see you sworn in to the white house as the new President of the United States of America.

    October 20, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. ljkcan

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

    October 20, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  8. Devin

    Good luck and best wishes to Senator Obama, his grandmother and his family. I sincerely hope she recovers, and if not, that she sees her grandson succeed in his goal.

    October 20, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  9. Jay K. Salem, OR

    Peace be with you and your grandmother Mr. Future President

    October 20, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  10. Cathy, Peoria AZ

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your grandmother must be very proud of the man you are and the President of the United States you are about to become.
    Godspeed

    October 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. Kris

    Sure hope Grandma is OK. BUT – IF she is so sick WHY wait until Thursday – today is Monday.
    Seems like there is more to this story – like all the "issues" on the legal birth certificate going on right now in Hawaii.
    Obama is so good at spin – maybe this is just another distraction learned from his Chicago gang. What a shame!

    October 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. SS

    Our prayers are with Barack Obama, his Grandmother, and their entire family!!!

    October 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  13. Tatala Family, Oregon

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones Sen. Obama.

    October 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Indiana Joe

    All my prayers are with Sen. Obama and his Grandmother! Blessings!

    October 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  15. Mike, Ohio

    Our thoughts are with Obama and his family. I'm sure she is incredibly proud of him, as we all are.

    October 20, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. Prayers and Early Voting from Dallas, Tx

    Blessing and prayers to you, Senator Obama, your grandmother and your family. You are a good honorable man.

    Obama supporters, lets all show Obama his campaign will truly "continue to function normally" by all of us VOTING EARLY for BARACK OBAMA THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES !

    October 20, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. Elle

    Senator Obama, You, your grandmother and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for taking on the task that you have. It means more to so many of us than you will ever know. God bless and keep you and your family.

    October 20, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  18. PL

    My thoughts and prayer are with you and your family Mr. president.

    October 20, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Audrey

    Our prayers are with you Sen. Obama.

    October 20, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. DC

    My prayers go out to your grandmother and you Senator Obama....I hope she feels better soon.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. former republican

    Put politics aside and let obama visit his sick grandmother. give the attacks a rest for a few days.

    – in the meantime perhaps the media should start digging up dirt on mccain instead of always putting obama under the microscope.

    October 20, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. Brigette

    I am amazed that the news is talking about Barack spending time with his Grandmother as a bad thing for the election. Barack suspending his campaign proves he is not the typical politician. If people have been concerned that he is a typical "Chicago" politician, suspending his campaign to be with the woman who raised him will prove that he is authentic. If he kept on campaigning while his grandmother was so ill, I would have thought less of him. How a politician treats his family is a good indicator on how he will treat this country. Loyalty and morality first, fame and fortune later.

    God Speed Barack to your Grandmother and you!

    Brigette

    October 20, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. Tsigeredsa

    May God be with you. me & My family prayers are with you and your family.I am hoping and praying she can see you win the white house

    October 20, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. Obama 2008

    I will be praying that she will recover and be able to watch your inauguration. God Bless!!

    October 20, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. WAKE UP! NO MORE TRICKS!

    Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Lord, may it be as You desire it to be. Cover Obama with your protection as he goes forth to visit his grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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