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. Dave

    God bless you and your grandmother in these trying times

    October 21, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  2. DONNA

    My best to you and your family Senator Obama, I lost my mother earlier this year ......Be strong you have MILLIONS who support you ....

    October 21, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  3. Angie

    My prayers are with your family
    You are an example of a true American... God bless Mr. President.

    October 21, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  4. Charlene

    Aww I wish you and you're family the best Obama! May God bless and be with you. I will be praying for you and your family! xox

    October 21, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. Nick, NY

    The only ticker article I've seen that lacks viciousness and an arrogant display of willful ignorance: Thank you America.

    October 21, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. go away mongers- Ventura,CA

    This is Barack Obama....The pictures the mcLIARS are trying to paint as a candidate who wants to win at any cost– Is leaving the campaign trail for FAMILY MATTERS with less than two weeks to go. The Sleaze bags of the gop once again- have been shown for what they are-LIARS-"people that will say or do anything to win an election".
    Enough! NOT THIS TIME!

    October 21, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  7. Kangwe Kanyenje

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Obama and family, hope your grandmother gets well soon!.

    October 21, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  8. Lisa Brennan

    God keep you and your lovely family. I know how important grandmothers are. I can only imagine how proud she is of you. I hope she gets better and it is good you will be with her.

    October 21, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  9. marilyn joi

    Take care you have my vote.your mother is very proud,i say that to you every time i see you on tv or your picture, my grandson is 13 he loves you. you are a gift to us to bad they don't know that. a real prodigy.......a person so extraordinary as to inspire wonder.........(my grandson has been with me for 13 years of his life i want him to be just like you) a lot of us love you,a lot of the world love you.....marilyn&dartanion

    October 21, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  10. B. Hawkins

    May God Bless and protect you and your family

    October 21, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  11. waff

    Our prayers for senator OB and his grandma. May she live long to see him become USA"s president. She deserves the honor!

    October 21, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  12. sama_a

    May God bless you Senator Obama, and your grandmother. I pray God will ease her pain, and keep her to see the fruit of her labor, the amazing work she did in her life. I pray she can see you voted in as our new President. She must be an amazing woman. We will fight the fight for you in your time with her.

    October 21, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  13. cyrusk

    I wish that Barack's grandmother lives long enough to see her grandson, whom she raised, to be president of The USA.
    I am sure that she is already very proud of Barack, for being such a decent man, and his accomplishments.

    \My thoughts and prayers are with you and your grandmother, senator Obama.

    October 21, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. MOSES WAKABU

    My prayers goes to Obama s Grandma and the entire family ,we need you all.

    Wakabu

    October 21, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  15. Jean 2

    I pray that she will get better and live to see her grandson become president of theUSA. The fruit of her love and sacrafice. She will live in the hearts of this nation.

    October 21, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  16. Teklezgy Sequar

    While you are at the defined moment for the campaign, this is a test for you Senator Obama but be strong. I will continue pray for you and your grandmother. God bless you and your family

    October 21, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  17. pmnittime

    I just want Sen. Obama to know, that his grandmother is in all of our prayers. I pray that she lives to see all the teachings that she and her daughter come to fruition,.. as she watches her grandson becomes the first African-American president. And I hope the Lord blesses her with the strength to stand beside him as he takes the oath of office.

    October 21, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  18. A. Rohani

    I hope she feels better soon. Once again you're shown what a great role model you are to all of us.

    October 21, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  19. rodgerkasule

    senator prayers all the way from Uganda – Africa, we wish you all the best, and may the good Lord watch over ur grandma, we pray she gets well soon
    love you and your family
    Rodger

    October 21, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  20. Dori in AZ

    My family's prayers are with Sen. Obama, his grandmother, and their family. Obama core family value: love.

    October 21, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  21. JImmy in California

    Senator Obama, the prayers of the nation are with you for the recovery of your Grandmother. You are the result of what she and your mother gave to you. Always be their son and grandson.

    October 21, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  22. tt in iowa

    May God bless you and your family. I know that your grandmother is very proud of the man you have become. This really brings it to focus that this stuff going on in the world is temporary and in the grand scheme of it all, family is the most important thing in the end. God speed, Senator Obama and we will all be here waiting for you to take us to the White House with you!

    October 21, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  23. Renee

    God bless Senator Obama and I pray that your grandmother will get better. Our prayers are with you and your family.

    October 21, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  24. Herman In LA

    I love you and your family Barack take care and God Bless.

    October 21, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  25. Michelle

    May God bless you, Senator Obama and your family, especially your grandmother. I pray that God will strengthen you even more during this difficult time. Grandmothers are so precious to us all, it is evident how she has instilled character in the man who will become our next President of the United States.

    I pray God will protect , bless and guide you as lead your citizens by restoring this country to greatness once again.

    Peace,

    October 21, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
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