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. Lane-North Carolina

    May GOD bless and keep you and your grandmother, may his countenance shine upon her and be gracious unto her. I pray that mercy will stand in the gap between your grandmother an death a little while longer so that she can see that her labor and sacrifices were not in vein. YOU will be the next president of the United States. my Bible says to speak those things that be not as thought they were!

    October 21, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  2. Allan in Mexico City

    Bless you and your Grandmother. I cherished my own, and wish yours a speedy return to health. Your values are what make the US what it is.

    October 21, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  3. CarolRose

    We will leave a candle in the window for your return; until then, we shall all hold down the fort from negative forces.
    May the angels keep your grandmother well.
    .

    October 21, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  4. Jr

    Senator Obama We will alway love ur family and our prayer to your grandmother

    October 21, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. Delores

    My prayers are with you and your family. May the Lord healing hands repair and restore her to good health. And may the Lord's protection be with you as you go and come back.

    October 21, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  6. Eric

    Prayers go out to you and your family! Can't wait for your grandmother to see President Barack Hussein Obama...

    Best Wishes...

    October 21, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  7. jllbee

    I really hope Obama's Grandmother is ok.
    I would love nothing better than for his Grandmother to see what an amazing change he's made for this country and world.
    Get well soon !

    October 21, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  8. No Country For Old Men

    Our prayers are with you and your grandmother, Senator Obama.

    We will hold the Fort until you return!

    Godspeed.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 21, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  9. chris

    Senator Obama, I pray that your grand mother feels and heals fast. Hang in there, and may God be with you.

    October 21, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  10. donn

    My prayers is that your grandmother will be alive and well to see you be the first black American president.

    October 21, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. Pua, HI

    May God bless you and your family, Senator Obama. And a speedy recovery for your grandma, so she will be able to witness your rise to become the 44th President of the US. Aloha.

    October 21, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  12. Journey to Visit Your History

    It is important to reflect and understand and know that without ends there can be no beginnings or middles. Breath it all in as you pursue a new beginning for this nation, for your family and you.

    October 21, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. CitizenS

    Our prayers are with you and your grandmother. May God be with her and may he bless you in your Presidency. We will be out here holding up our end so, not to worry. I pray that she may see her grandson as President come Nov. 4. OBAMA/BIDEN 08 12

    October 21, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. NO ONE BUT OBAMA!!!

    Your family comes first! Your Grandmother has to be so proud of the man you have become!

    Best Wishes to you and your Family in these challenging times

    October 21, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. Louvene

    I remember the 60's and the woman who would raise her bi-racial grandchild is a woman of strong character. Sometimes you don't have to belong to a certain religion to have goodness in your heart. I can also imagine (in the 60's) how other women would look at her and just shake their heads. But to rise above that and show her grandchild the love and teach him all shows that she is to be greatly admired and how can we ever thank her for the grandson she is giving us.

    October 21, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  16. Nina in Orlando

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your grandma! I hope and pray she is with us at least long enough to see her wonderful grandson become our next President!

    October 21, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  17. Sylvia B

    My prayers go out to you Senator Obama and your family. It is painful when the person that helped raised you in to a wonderful person is gravely ill. Take time to spend it with your grandmother.

    October 21, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  18. Doreen

    Prayers for you and your grandmother Mr. Obama. Your arrival I'm sure willl make her very happy.

    October 21, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  19. Steve

    Sorry to hear about you health Granny Obama. You grandson is too busy to come see you right away, so you need to hold on till sometime Thursday. I love how everyone thinks it is so considerate of him when obviously family does NOT come first, neither does Country. He should have been on his plane to Hawaii the second her heard about this, not 3 days later.

    Go ahead and Moderate this till the thread closes, like you always do. I no longer care CNN, since all you care about is an Obama win.

    October 21, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  20. REPUBLIC OF TEXAS

    MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU BARACK OBAMA

    October 21, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  21. Maggie from New Jersey

    My thoughts are with you and your grandmother.

    October 21, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  22. John, Tampa, FL

    May God Bless Senator Obama. Grandma will be alright! Senator obama is like family to so many people. I look at him and I see the best of both races in him. I may not like all his ideas, but you must respect Senator Obama. In fact, today I voted for him.

    I really hope to see him back out soon fighting for me. I was reading comments on Fox’s site and it is just a shame how negative people out there are.

    October 21, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  23. Allan

    Mrs. Dunham, America thanks you for the role you played in raising your grandson to be the next President of the US. I pray that you will be here to see him sworn in on January 20, 2009 and beyond.

    October 21, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  24. Felix

    Mr. President, do what you have to do.

    October 21, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  25. Sengdao CA

    I cannot help stop my tear running down with all the kind words, thought and prays for Obama's grandma and live to see her grandson make history in America.

    Our thought and prays goes to your family Obama.

    October 21, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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