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. Stephanie from AL

    My best wishes for Senator Obama's Grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  2. Ken

    It tell you alot about the person.

    Respectful and caring.

    Definately a great President

    October 20, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  3. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    Those of us who support Senator Obama, remember him, his grandmother and entire family in our prayers. We will keep the hope for change going as he does what a loving grandson should, go see about and be with her.

    October 20, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Seanie

    Senator Obama, your family is in my thoughts and prays during this time of transition. May God's love comfort you and that his will be done. May God continue to bless you and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. Mothernature Houston,Tx

    May God Bless Obama and his family.

    October 20, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. William of Albany, NY

    This is a mark of what kind of man Obama is. Would John McCain go visit an ill relative this late in the campaign?

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. CNN loves a horserace

    Our hearts are with you Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  8. Arielle Yanaba

    Barack...My son turns two tomorrow, and we took him to see you this afternoon in Orlando, FL. It was a wonderful experience and one I will never forget, nor let him forget. Our child growing in my belly also had a blast! I wish your grandmother the best, she raised a wonderful man! Peace and Blessings!

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. Sue, NY

    This news makes me so so sad for Obama. My prayers are with him.

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. daphne wantsala

    I was raised by my maternal grandmother as well. I know she means a lot to her grandson, Barack Obama. I hope & wish her well.

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. NB

    I really really want her to see Obama as the president of USA. I can only pray for health . Mrs. Dunham Thank You for such good Up bringing.Your grandson is the only hope we have.

    October 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  12. VA Mike

    Mr. Obama, I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. My prays will be with her and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  13. Laura, Boston

    Despite what anyone believe in politically please accept my best wishes for the recovery of your grandmother Senator Obama.

    One thing America does know about you is that you truly love this woman very much. It only seems fair that you take all the time you need to be with her in her time of need.

    Have a safe trip.
    Laura, Boston

    October 20, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Neal

    Here's McCain's chance, attack him while he's visiting his sick grandma!

    October 20, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  15. Kim

    Best wishes for Obama's grandmother. I hope that she recovers from whatever is going on and that she is able to watch her grandson become the next president of the United States of America.

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  16. angel

    Mr. Barack Obama please stay strong

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. grasping for straws

    Thoughts and prayers from Alabama goes out to your Grandmother, Senaotor Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. Rick K

    God bless

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. Nola

    I will be praying for you and your grandmother -

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. Cathy

    Our prayer to the Obama family. I know it selfish but Grandma Obama...HANG ON!!!!

    Your grandson is about to become President...and we want to celebrate it with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Charlie Bradley

    This is the candidate we need!! Even when he's VERY busy winning an election he still takes time for family. I hope this will in No way impact the lead you currently have in the polls. AND if there is ANY HINT of this causing personal attacks from your opponents, then I think we should ALL remember that.

    October 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  22. Brian Rich

    It would be a real tragedy to lose another great person in American history this year.

    October 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. Heather

    From my family to yours, senator Obama, our prayers are with you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. A mom of a child with autism for Barack Obama!

    My prayers are sent to Senator Obama, his wife, children and of course his beloved Grandmother.. May she have a speedy recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. Dee, Topeka

    Now here's a man who has his priorities in order. Family is always FIRST.....not country. My prayers are with our next president and his family. May God Bless.

    October 20, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
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