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. Alvaro

    Obama, I hope your family does well. Best wishes to you and your family. ^_^

    October 21, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  2. elouise

    My thoughts and prayers are with barack you your grandmother

    October 21, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  3. T

    Our prayers and most sincere thoughts go out to Sen. Obama who days before the election puts his family first. What an exemplary man whose grandmother, we pray, has the opportunity to see his victory.

    October 21, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  4. Susan

    I feel badly about your grandmother. You are a brave, kind, and intelligent man, attributes that will make you one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had.

    October 21, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  5. Brad S. in Knoxville, TN

    God Bless and God Speed Barack! Pray everybody!

    October 21, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  6. sandra Richardson

    McCain's campaign has been down and dirty. His choice for Vice President was ridiculous. He speaks to his public with talking points and absolutely no original thought. Many times he does not make any sense.
    Americans should recognize and elect someone articulate and well educated. Neither McCain nor Palin make the cut.

    October 21, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  7. Global J

    I too hope she recovers in time to see her grandson in the White House.
    I also pray that McCain and Palin don't twist this like they have tried to mislead the American family on other issues. One wouldn't be too surprised to see them do this given how low they have already fallen in this campaign!

    October 21, 2008 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  8. yvonne coleman

    SENATOR OBAMA YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING BY

    LEAVING THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TO BE WITH YOUR

    GRANDMOTHER. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE FAMILY AND THERE

    IS TRULY NOTHING LIKE A "LOVING GRANDMOTHER". SHE CAN

    BE SO VERY PROUD OF THE WONDERFUL JOB SHE DID IN

    RAISING YOU. A MAN OF STRONG CHARACTER, LOVING FATHER

    AND HUSBAND. MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    October 21, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  9. Sujay

    I wish Obama best of luck hope he will good fortune to US and will pullout the economic crisis

    October 21, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  10. Kris

    My prayers are with you and your family Senator Obama.

    October 21, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  11. Ethiopia

    Barak ! may god give a speedy recovery for grandma so she can see what a gift she's giving us for a bettement of our children's tomorrow and a relief for us hard working famillies today. we'll pray for you and your families wellbeing'.We believe in you.

    God Bless you and your familly !!

    October 21, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  12. Jaimey, California

    Healing thoughts and love to Senator Obama and his family. Feel better Toot!

    October 21, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  13. Buck

    I was always touched by Obama's warm references to his grandmother. I sense I may have loved my grandmother (who raised me) in the same way he loves his.

    God's speed.

    October 21, 2008 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  14. geireh

    Be save.go and watch your steps. we always pray God for your
    good health to take care of all that you are willing to do in the near
    days to come and the dfficult tasks ahead of us.

    October 21, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  15. Watermann

    Honorable man with a lot of dignity. God bless your Grandma and your family. This is the only reason to suspend your campaign activities. What a man. I hope that all ordinary Americans realize that there is a President who has got more honesty in his small finger than a lot of the other pundits in their entire body.

    October 21, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  16. peter

    may God heal her and give her the strength to be a joyful witness to this history when u become america's first black president. God bless u and urs

    October 21, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  17. Proactive voter

    Our prayers are with your grandma. May God preserve her life to see 4th Nov.

    October 21, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  18. Joseph

    To Senator Obama, we know Toots is very close to you. I wish you and your grand mother well. My prayers are with you and Toots for a fast recovery. May God bless you.

    October 21, 2008 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  19. geireh

    I wish the best for you and your family.

    October 21, 2008 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  20. Lanette in FL

    My prayers are with you and your family. You are a good man. God Bless.

    October 21, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  21. sil

    God Bless you and all your family. Hope your granma gets well soon to see you elected as President of the United States of America.

    October 21, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  22. Amy S. , NY

    Oh no dear god, keep her alive with us so she can see her grand son becoming president! Please. His parents are not here to witness that, let her grandmother at least be here. Please dear god.

    October 21, 2008 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  23. Eritrea

    God bless you and your family. We love you.

    October 21, 2008 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  24. Joyce Clark

    Sir, My family and I are including your grandmother as well as your entire family in our daily prayers. Trust and believe in Our Heavenly Father for strength and endurance....... He will be there for you and your family ...Speedy recovery for your grandmother, she needs to see you finish this race.

    October 21, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  25. Baby love

    my prayer with you and your family,I pray that you win this election because you are a good person and you care about the America people.I hope your grama will live to see her wonderful grandson in the white house.peace.

    October 21, 2008 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
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