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. Christie

    Our prayers are with you Barack. We thank your Grandmother for raising such a decent, caring and wonderful human being. She has our gratitude.

    October 20, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Our prayers are with you and your family Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Coherent1

    May God's grace and mercy be upon you and your grandmother. May you have a safe trip to and from Hawaii.

    October 20, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Lori

    To Obama: Your grandmother should be proud of what you have and will accomplish as President of the United States.

    To the American people: If McCain/Palin bring up Rev. Wright, please remember that Obama's grandmother is a white woman. For McCain and Palin to try and imply that Obama is racist against white people because of Wright, he will look like the idiot he is.

    Barack, your grandmother is in our thoughts.

    October 20, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Tony

    My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Obama and his family.

    She is an important figure in his life and she shaped this brillant young man who will be the next President of the United States.

    Senator McCain needs to tone things down over Thursday and Friday out of respect for Senator Obama and his family.

    October 20, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. KC

    my prayers go out to the Obama's.

    October 20, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. deborah, WV

    Barack, you and your family are in our prayers.

    October 20, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. Paizley

    All my prayers to you and your family Senator Obama. You are a good grandson.

    October 20, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. Beacn

    Good choice Senator Obama. It's the right thing to do.

    October 20, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Winnie Hussein.... in Montana

    Sen. Obama, the thoughts and prayers of my family and friends are with you and yours. Take the time you need and the rest of us will help you out!

    October 20, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Christine El Paso

    God bless Mr Obama our best wishes are with you and your family!

    October 20, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. VA Woman for Obama!!!

    God bless Senator Obama and his family during this difficult time.

    October 20, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  13. Sarah

    I think that he is putting aside his campaign to go spend a couple day with the woman who raised him, says alot about his character. He is obviously a man who put his family first. I think that says alot. That is the kind of man that I want to be our president.

    October 20, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. Independent

    this is the problem with trying to demonize this guy it just does not work. I hope she gets better i know she will love to see your inauguration, barack.

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

    i hope the best for the obama family as i did for the biden family, or would for the mccain or palin family. after all that has said and been done during this campaign, a moment of humanity, its good for the soul.

    October 20, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. e.j.mohammed Washington state

    This is just another example of this mans character and integrity! I hope and pray his grandmother can see Senator Obama become President Obama!
    Obama/Biden the only way to go in 08

    October 20, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. Simmy

    Sen Obama, you're doing the right thing. Our prayers will be with you and your family. May God continue to bless you and your staff. OB-08.

    October 20, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. Peter of Oregon

    I pray all will be well with her and that she lives to see her grandson become an awesome US President.

    October 20, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Senator Obama and his family are in our prayers.

    October 20, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. Nancy from FL

    WHATEVER! Obamas just using this as an excuse to take away McCain and Sarahs momentum. He doesnt care about his grandmother ,just using her as a political tool! And she said shes a typical white woman!!!! How typical of a se xist like Obama!!!!

    MCCAIN PALIN 2008

    October 20, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. John in VA

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. bud

    Hang on Madelyn. Your boy is going to change the world.

    October 20, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. Elizabeth in Texas

    What a remarkable woman. God be with this family and Senator Obama. She made him the great man he is today and she deserves peace.

    October 20, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. bob the builder

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Senator Obama and his family.

    October 20, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  25. nerakami

    My best wishes for your Grandmother... Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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