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. francheska ;-)

    I will have Sen. Obama and his grandmother in my thoughts and prayers.

    October 20, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. a well educated woman

    God Bless you and your family on this time of need. Lord please let the hate stop for peace at this time, so we may all pray for the healing of Baracks Grandmother, she had a pivotal role in his life. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Canadian

    May GOD help her stay strong till her grandson is sworn in as President of the USA

    October 20, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to your grandmother Sen. Obama. I also hope that you will be given the chance to spend quality time with her and that your opponent does not decide to use this time to come up with another baseless attack when you can't defend it.

    Of course, that would mean I have faith in McCain/Palin, so let me say sorry in advance. Since they are surely going to do it! :(

    October 20, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Linda32

    Prayers are with Obama and his grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. James

    My thoughts are with you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. Mike, MD

    I know how it feel because i was raised by my grandmother too...This is extremly important for him, Mr. Obama i'll pray for you hopefully she'll gets better.

    Folks don't forget to go vote please!!!

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. Northwest Washington

    This is a man that knows balance. Go and comfort your family. Our prayers are with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Obama/Biden 08!

    Our hearts and prayers are with you and your grandmother Barack.

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. matt

    lets all go see fox's website and look at all the negative comments about a man going to visit his dying grandmother. Oh republican base, you ruined America

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. Obama/ Biden 2008

    I hope she gets better to see Barack as the president of the united states.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Jason

    My thoughts & prayers are with you Senator Obama, this is a real reason to leave your campaing Mccain.
    VA voter here, ready to vote Obama.. wish they had early voting here.

    October 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. Real Talk

    Our prayers our with you and your family Barack. I hope all is well with your grandmother. I think it show's true characater how you and Joe have both put Family and Country first. God Bless You and YOur Family and God bless America.

    October 20, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  14. judy, Wisconsin

    We'll be thinking of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Send our love to your Grandma.

    October 20, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I personally feel like I know Obama's granny because he has often spoke so loving of her. My prayers are with Obama and the granny that loves him so very much.

    October 20, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Martha

    My prayers are with you Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. jwn in south carolina

    Godspeed.

    October 20, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. Just Me

    Our prayers are with you and your grandmother, Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  19. Freddie Jo

    Our prayers are with your grand ma. May God preserve her life to witness your landslide victory on November 4 and your inauguration in Janaury 2009. Get well soon grand ma.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. Vishnu

    My blessings are with you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. laurence

    My God's grace be upon you and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. BOOTSTOMPER

    What crap will the GOP spin on this? Obama is so much more honorable than McCain and Palin. I hope his grandmother is able to see this election to the end.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. Queen

    Senator Obama, my prayers are with you and your family! You are doing the right thing, recently losing my mother I take comfort in knowing I was there for her in her time of need as she was always there for me. Obama's grandmother was instrumental in helping him become the man he is today so there is no question of whether or not he should take a break from the campaign trail. Everyone should be steadfast in voting and urging others to vote.

    Sincerely Queen

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. michele

    I've studied McCains economic plan and he wants to give every individual a $2,500 to $5,000 tax credit EVEN IF THEY ARE UNEMPLOYED. At the same time he wants to implement an across the board spending freeze that's impossible without going deeper into debt. Bye bye spending freeze. He says he wants to cut taxes for everyone which means the government will have less money coming in which increases our national debt. Bye bye spending freeze. He wants to cut medicaid and medicare funding by billions of dollars which will hurt the elderly. Maybe he plans to pay for his tax credits and cuts at the expense of the elderly. That's wealth redistribution at its worst. He wants to tax employer-sponsored health benefits which experts in the field say will cause employers to drop coverage on most individuals. Bye bye health care. Better think twice before voting for McCain you and your loved ones well being could be at risk.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  25. INDEPENDENT

    Barack,

    You are good man. Go see you grandmother who raised you. We will continue to battle the lies and deception of the Republican Right Wing party.

    Stand up people and fight for your freedoms and constitutional rights by voting the right winged neo con's and John Mcain out. Protect this good country!!!

    Obama 08

    October 20, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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