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. Maria - Kirkland, WA

    May the Creator guide and bless you, your grandmother, and your family.

    October 21, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  2. Ronda

    I'm sending good thoughts and hope to Sen. Obama and his family.

    October 21, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  3. ellington7

    You can really see the measure of a man by what he holds as important, and this is just proves that obama is loving, caring and not going to let something which could benefit his political career get in the way.

    may God bless your grandmother, you and yours barack

    To the next president

    October 21, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  4. Erica from GA

    Bless you Senator Obama and the woman that made you the man you are today. Like everyone else, I hope she has a speedy recovery so she can see her Barry become President.

    October 21, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  5. br

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Hope your Grandma gets through this difficult period and we pray that she is able to see her proud grandson take over as the President. Our blessings are with the senator and his family.

    October 21, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. Alex

    All the best wishes to Mr. Obama and his grandmother. I hope the opposition has the decency to not use this to their advantage (beyond the inevitability of Obama being off the trail, which is fair enough).

    October 21, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. Kate

    We love you, Barack. Sending thoughts and prayers to you, your grandma and your family. We all know how important she is to you.

    October 21, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  8. Tony, Miami

    Seeing your love for your grandmother make us appreciate you more. best wishes Senator Obama. I do hope she gets better and have the pleasure to stand by you the day of your inauguration as President of the United States.

    October 21, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. caywen

    Godspeed, Barack. Don't worry, JoeB's got your back while you're away. JoeB just went through this himself.

    October 21, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Muslims for Barack Hussein Obama

    Praying for you my brother. Return home safely, we have alot to do the next two weeks to ensure your presidency and the White House.

    October 21, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. shelia

    I hope she lives to see her Grandchild become President...My prayers are with Barack...I know you will make your Grandma proud and also the lady who is 106 years old in Altlanta,G.A...Godbless you!!!!

    October 21, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  12. Henry in Toronto

    "Dear God,you have blessed us with a good grandmother who cared so much for this grandson,Barack, please keep her safe and healthy so that she lives long beyond 4th Nov.when Barack is President of the USA" Amen

    October 21, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. Desmond Sequeira

    There you go, folks: Obama – a human being just like like you and me, whose grandmother loved and loves him and who loved and loves his grandmother. His decision to go to her bedside at this critical stage of the campaign demonstrates that his priorities and heart are in the right place. PEACE.

    October 21, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  14. Susan

    I pray that she will see the day sense returns to USA and you become president of this great nation.

    All, PLEASE VOTE. Please.

    October 21, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  15. Cathy Agu

    May God P R O T E C T your grandmother and please let her see you in the whitehouse. Amen.

    She can not die ans she will not die she needs to see you in the whitehouse in her life time.

    God please let his grandmother see your glory in his life. She has done what alot of grandmother can and will not do. Scarifice!

    May you name be praised Lord. Let his grandmother can not die oooh Lord. She will not die. Please Lord show yourself and keep her past 4 November 2008.

    October 21, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. Jean Vancil

    Senator Obama,
    You and your grandmother are in my prayers. You will make your grandmother so proud as President. I will pray for her journey back to health.
    God Bless you and yours.

    October 21, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. Anthony

    Thanks for all that you do Senator Obama. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 21, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  18. RD

    My thought and prayers are with you and your family. God bless

    October 21, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  19. Denise

    Obama, I wish your grandmother well. My dearest wish is for your family to share your victory with you. Godspeed for your grandmother

    October 21, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  20. Linda Schatzer

    Fox is the slime at the bottom of a pond...to negatively attack someone for visiting the woman that raised him when she is seriously ill is just a travesty. Fox you should be ashamed of yourselves. If people were smart they would boycott watching that station. I dont watch it anymore at all. Nor do I watch anything affiliated with Fox stations.

    October 21, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. Doretha Chambers

    I pray God's blessing for your grandmother, your entire family and of course you! You have surely made your grandmother proud! She raised you to be a wonderful manand America is better for it.

    October 21, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. Blue is my favourite colour

    May God grant the Obama family peace in this time of sadness. I hope that Senator Obama has safe travel to and from Hawaii. I know that all of the Americans who want this extraordinary man to be their next leader will welcome him home with open arms.

    Above all, I hope that Ms. Dunham rests easy and recovers her strength so that if her grandson is elected president, then she will be able to see with her own eyes the day that she helped create for America and the world.

    October 21, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  23. Mike

    All thoughts and prayers are with the Obamas and Dunhams. No matter which political side we're on, we're thinking of you.

    October 21, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  24. jess

    senator Obama my prayers are with you! May god bless you, your grandma and r family . I know your grandma is so proud of you !

    October 21, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. gayle in California

    I have always been praying for you and your family. Now I will just think of one more family member. May God be with you.

    October 21, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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