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. SARAH, not the dippy Alaskan

    Only the best wishes and prayers for the Obamas.

    October 20, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Eric

    Our prayers are with you and your Grandmother!

    The rest of the Obama Team has your back!

    October 20, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. go vote

    Our thoughts are with your family ...

    Go Vote People

    October 20, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. fella from chicago

    So touching Barack. Cancel the events in Iowa and Wisconsin where you know you've already won, but go to Indiana where you're hoping to win before departing to see your sick grandmother. Glad to see your heart and soul is still melded from Chicago politics. It's all about "me".

    October 20, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. Misty

    I hope Grandma feels better– I hope she hangs in to see her grandson become the President of USA.

    Grandma! Hang in there- Barack needs you.. the country needs you.
    Love and Speedy Recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. Dori

    Mr. Obama, may God bless your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. sherrifromohio

    Our prayers are with your grandmother Sen. Obama, and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. wakeupamerica

    Obama – please know our thoughts and prayers are with your grandmother Madelyn and your family. God bless you.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. Brittany

    May God Bless You and your family Senator Obama. You all are in our prayers.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. Ryan

    This is very sad. I wish obamas grandma the absolute speediest recovery possible. God bless that lady.

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Larique from CT

    I pray she gets well soon so she can see you make history, Senator Obama!

    October 20, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Michael, Oregon

    Our prayers are with her and your family senator

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. Sean

    Travel safely Obama and hope she gets better soon so she can see you win the Presidency!

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. warm wishes

    Warm wishes to you and your family, Barack. Hopes for a speedy recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. tuff Col. Oh

    MAY GOD BLESS OBAMA'S GRANMOTHER AND THE REST OF HIS FAMILY, WE LOVE THEM ALL

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. James

    Our prayers will be with you, Mr. Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. midwestrn grl_stl

    Family First.

    We will hold it down for you, don't worry................

    You and your family have become your supporters family, we care about you deeply and we know that the good Lord God Our Savior is watching over you.

    Keep the Faith......yes we can

    October 20, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. Kathy in Florida

    This is sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you Barack.

    OBAMA 2008

    October 20, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Sonya

    First let me start off by saying you, you have a interesting panel each night that is covering the campaign trail and I try hard to tune in each and every night to to hear point of view form each party.

    I think some people of America is voting to see if Mr. Senator Obama will rise to the occasion, or if he's going to fail as being not smart than a African American 5th grader. Education does plays a BIG part in this election as well.

    I will be voting for Mr. Senator Obama not by the color of his skin but by me doing my own research on both candidates and from what I have viewed on both Mr. McCain & and Mr. Obama backgrounds clearly tells me who is more fit for the JOB.

    A swing state of Kansas City, MO voter

    October 20, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    The Senator and his family will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers during what is likely a very difficult time.

    October 20, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. ERIC

    My Prayers go out to Obama and his grandmother. May she find comfort with his presence by her side. Very Sad.

    October 20, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. hometowndemocrat

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Sen. Obama and his family. I only hope she lives long enough to see her beloved grandson become president of the United States. How proud she will be.

    October 20, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. arlene, CA

    Special prayers & understanding to you Senator Obama

    October 20, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Blinded by the lie

    My heartfelt prayers got to Senator Obama and his family in his time of need ....will light a candle for you in church and hope it will help see you through in you comfort of you grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. Tracey in Va

    This is what a REAL man of character does when his family needs him....he goes to them.....family first.!!!
    God bless Sen. Obama and his family!

    October 20, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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