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. Everyone needs in need of prayer

    Whether you are Repub or Demo, Obamas family needs your prayer. Regardless of your feelings towards him, put them aside if you are truly called by his Name (Jesus) and pray for strength for him and his families as well as others that may be affected by a sick loved one, God Bless

    October 20, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. Tiff of lithia springs

    WE will keep your Granny in our prayers. I want her to see you get inaugurated Buddy.

    October 20, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. Arlene Perez

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Obama's grandma. We all know how important grandmothers are to our lives.

    October 20, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Flo

    I hope Senator Obama's grandmother get well and live to see his gradson win the presidency. My prayers are with the Obama's in their hour of need. I pray Mrs. Dunham recover fully to cheer Obama on Nov. 4th.

    God Bless.

    October 20, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. GKL

    May God Bless Obama's family at this time. My prayers are with him and his grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. Mel D

    Our prayers are with you and your family during this time.

    October 20, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Bobby

    I pray she lives to see her grandson sworn into office.

    Our country has suffered too long under the McCain/Bush generation of Republicans.

    I'm in Georgia – and my friends and I are voting Obama + Biden.

    October 20, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Tyree,LV-Independent For Obama

    Hope Shes Okay!
    But Don't Worry Well Hold The Fort While Your Gone.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 20, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Independent for Obama!!

    Senator Obama, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this difficult time. We hope your grandmother comes through her illness and gets the amazing opportunity to celebrate with all of us on November 4th when you win the presidential election. We will be praying for a miracle and may God bless your grandmother!

    October 20, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Texas Teacher

    God Bless Barack's Grandmother.... we should all pray for her highest good and that God's will be done. It is always hard to know in these times what God wills for the elderly. We lost our 93 year old grandmother a few years ago. Even when you know it is their time, it's hard. And you are never ready. My prayers for Barack Obama and all his family. And that if it is that time for the Grandmother that her crossing be an easy one.

    I pray that the McCain Camp will be merciful in their ignorant and false attacks at this time. I'm sure that their merciless attacks have not been easy for the Grandmother of Barack Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. TexasAlien

    My prayers are with you and our grandma, Senator Obama. I pray for other members of your and grandma's immediate and extended family, too. Light, for the hiighest good.

    October 20, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. verity_gnosis

    My heart goes out to Mr Obama and I wish him and his family the best.

    October 20, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. SAME OLD STUFF

    PRAYING FOR YOUR GRANDMA.

    I HOPE SHE GETS BETTER.

    WILL MISS YOU MR BARRY

    LOVE YOU LOTS AND GOODLUCK

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  14. Remy

    We pray for the old grandma who broughtup a future president!

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  15. Carmen

    What a touching relationship. I hope she gets better.

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  16. All Politics Aside

    Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family, Senator Obama. Godspeed and God Bless you.

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. nora CC TXAS

    Our prayers are with you as you travel to see your grandmother and we will pray for you and your family. Stay safe.

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. SOPHIA RHEAU, 23, FL

    I'm praying for a full recovery for you grandma.....we love you :)

    JESUS HEALS

    OBAMA '08

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  19. Lisa

    I totally understand and agree with Barak's decision to be by his grandmother's side. Mrs. Dunham played a major role in his life; the time he spends with her is far more important & precious. This move tells a lots about his character and his love for family.

    Let's all pray for Mrs. Dunham's swift recovery.

    Lisa
    VA Republican turned Independent

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. TexasAlien

    My prayers are with you and our grandma, Senator Obama. I pray for other members of your and grandma's immediate and extended families, too. Light, for the highest good. AMEN.

    October 20, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. Chris, Bethesda, Maryland

    Pay attention, John. *This* is a real reason to put your campaign on hold.

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  22. Angie for Obama-Biden all the way!

    I wish Senator Obama and his grandmother well.

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  23. Independant for Obama

    Our prayers are with you sir !

    It must be a great feeling for a GRANDMA to see and meet the next president of the United States!!

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. JNC, California

    Go and visit with your grandmother, Senator Obama. I wish you and your family well. You won't miss much just the same old lies and hate tactics.

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. maurice

    to put aside politics for once....our thoughts and prayers are with you senator obama. and gods speed.

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
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