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. Kate Fergus

    Our prayers go out to you and your family. No doubt the McCain campaign will take the low road and continue their smears.

    Vote for someone who has demonstrated that he has the character required to be an excellent leader. Obama fits this bill. Biden is a great partner. Intelligence and good judgment are what the country needs.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 21, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  2. Leah J

    My heart goes out to you Senator Obama. I have been thinking about seeing you on inauguration day imagining how wonderful it will be for our country and I hope and pray your grandmother will be well to watch you be sworn in...... It is wonderful you are spending time with her. It shows your true character................

    October 21, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  3. christian for obama

    our prayers are with you, your family and for your grandmothers health..

    October 21, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. ssk

    GOD BLESS YOU senator obama, i'm sure your grandmother is so proud of you

    October 21, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  5. W.H. Thomas

    My prayers are with you Senator Obama...May God bless you and be with you during your family's time of need.

    October 21, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. David

    our hearts and prayers to you President Obama

    October 21, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  7. Mr E

    I wish her the very best , she did a good by raising such a fineman in Obama. I was expecting to see her at the inauguration ceremony , which ever way it comes out, America and the world thank you for a job well done in our next president , get well soon.

    October 21, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. The real "O" Factor

    Dear Barack,

    May you come back on a trail as soon as possible with good news of your grandma's recovery! God speed!

    October 21, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  9. C W

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Senator Obama. When I read "Dreams From My Father," I was so impressed by your mother and grandmother – and then for you to choose another strong, honorable woman like Michelle says so much about you and the women who raised you. I'm sure your Grandma is very proud – please give her our love.

    October 21, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  10. DWilson

    This certainly the right thing to do, who can you lead if you can't take the time to take care of family. Haven't they all did it at one time or the other. Faithful we should be.

    October 21, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. Paul

    My thoughts and prayers to President Obama and his grandmother.

    October 21, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. Robert

    Best wishes to Mrs. Dunham, Senator Obama and his family.

    October 21, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. ck4life11

    unbelievable to see all these great comments. Barack you inspire us all, and we are so fortunate you grandmother raised a MAN like you. God Bless barack and his whole family... AMERICA.

    obaMa /biden08

    October 21, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. Sandra in Kentucky

    Oh, how I admire and love this man. He is indeed a good and decent person.

    My prayers are with Sen. Obama, his family and his grandmother. Hope she lives long enough to see her wonderful grandson in the White House.

    October 21, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. Tiff of lithia springs

    Have a safe trip and we will keep your family in our prayers. We want to see her recover and may she see you inaugurated in January,

    October 21, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  16. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    You have done your grandmother proud. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours through these darken hours. God Bless.

    October 21, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. Rose Black

    I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope she feels better soon. God Bless You and Your Family. America desperately needs a President who exhibits calm steady leadership and who trys to treat everyone with respect. You are the candidate that can bring us together as a united community.

    October 21, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  18. Sheila

    You are a very strong, secure man. Characteristics like these are not to be taken for granted. I know your upbringing contributed to that. May your Grandmother be embraced in LOVE, LIGHT and PEACE. Blessings to you and your family.

    October 21, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. Amber

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Senator Obama.

    I hope your grandmother lives to see you become president.

    I also hope that conservatives and Republicans can find it in their hearts to say a prayer for your grandmother as well.

    Obama 08

    October 21, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. nikkity

    My prayers are with you and your family. I truly thank and praise GOD for your grandmother, how proud she must be.

    May GOD continue to bless and keep our 44th president!

    October 21, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  21. Calbb

    Senator Obama- may God be with you and your family in your time of need. Your mother, father, grandfather, and grandmother have all contributed to the person you are currently, and the great President that you are destined to become. God bless, and know that you will NEVER walk alone.

    October 21, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  22. Chrissy

    Our prayers are with you. Please tell grandma that she should not answer back if God tries to call her home.

    Be strong, good sir.

    October 21, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  23. I can see Russia

    Colin Powell's resume...

    Four Star General
    Secretary of State
    National Security Advisor
    Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Republican

    He is voting for Obama

    October 21, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  24. chris Obama08

    Senator Obama, you have the support of the nation. i believe GOD will embrace your grandmother physically and spiritually make no mistake your grandmother has done her job. GOD PLEASE SAVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    October 21, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  25. Wayne

    Very nice to see everyone's prayer and thoughts going out on this blog. On the ABC blog, nearly half the comments were saying this is a devious political stunt. It's not ABC's fault. They present non-bias reporting. That's why half the people reacted negatively.
    CNN also presents non-biased reporting but I guess they just have nicer and more decent viewers.
    Can't we all just get along?
    God Bless Grammie-Obama

    October 21, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
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