October 20th, 2008
09:58 PM ET
5 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. Liz, St. Louis, Mo

    My thought and prayers are with you and your family. God bless

    October 20, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. sandee in Portland

    May God watch over you and your Grandmother in your time of need. I hope she improves so that she can see you elected President, although I'm sure she is so proud of you already.

    October 20, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  3. jimmy

    yes yes, may God bless your grandma, a treasure to have and to watch history in making , i wonder how it would feel, when she looks back at the day when barake was a little boy dabling in the water with his grandpa,from a different era, and watching him a mature man raising his hand to be sworn as a president on the steps of the capital hill saying Amen, while looking up to see the images of his mom and his dad looking down on this boy who is changing the history of a nation or the birth of a new nation...amen

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. Obama is an Indigo Child!

    Healing light and divine intervention to your grandmother Obama. I was raised by my grandma, too and I understand how important this time with her is. Know that many are praying for her recovery. We need you. We love you!

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. Dana

    Now that's a REAL AND GENUINE reason to "stop campaigning"!!!

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Joe

    As a people, let us all pray for Senator Obama and his family at this time.

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  7. J. Scott, Texas

    May God be with you. My prayers are with you and your family. I hope and pray that she can see you win the White House come November. You are the blessed grandson that she lived to raise.

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Teresa M.

    Senator Obama, my prayers and blessings to you and your family at this time. May God keep her safe to see you as the next president of the USA.

    October 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. banderson

    To all Obama-Biden supporters let's pray that Senator Obama grandmother has a speedy recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  10. Pat

    My prayers are with you and your blessed grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  11. kent

    May the Lord be their refuge and strength.

    October 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. efrem

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family hopefully she'll pull through

    October 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Lucy

    I think it only makes him seem more human to want to see his Grandmother while she is so ill. I hope he tells his Grandmother to hang in there and he will make her even prouder when he wins the Presidency. Both Biden and Obama have shown Americans how important their families are to them. It is important that even though Obama is stretch thin, he know what his priorities are and knows what the right choice is without batting an eye.

    October 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. Lynn in NM

    Why would Clinton start campaigning for him now? I thought she said she "would do everything she could" to help him win. What is this – the 2nd time she has stumped for him in the past 3 months? Glad she is so trustworthy.

    October 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. nyindependent

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Let's hope we ALL can let you share this time with your grandmother without the mudslinging that we've seen so much of.
    God bless you!

    October 20, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. HENRY of ILLINOIS

    Sometimes there are situations that defy political analysis. This has to be one of them .But we are already being subjected to opinions as to how this may play out in the election arena – whether it will hurt or help. The desire to take positions on any and everything, by pundits in the media, is reminscent of the paparazzi wallowing in every private moment of celebrities, like Diana, even when she was dying in a motor car accident. Doesn't anyone know when to stop?

    October 20, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. Diebold Bandit

    The touching stories Obama has shared about his wonderful, hardworking grandmother makes anyone wish for her restored health.

    Best wishes Barack to your and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  18. Cam

    I'm sure Palin will have something to say about this...........if she mentions it, then I hope the media actually rips her apart, like they have been unwilling to do so far.........

    October 20, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  19. dmg

    Sen.Obama you and your family are in my thoughts and my prayers.

    October 20, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  20. lindajo48

    I was blessed to have a grandmother who was as important to me asBarack Obama's is to him.  She has been gone for 10 years and not a day goes by that I don't remember her and miss her.  It is a sign of thehuman being that Obama is that he is going to spend time with his grandmother.  He will never regret it.  My prayers and thoughts are with him

    October 20, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  21. Md

    May God be with your grandmother Senator Obama. Our thoughts are with you and your entire family.

    October 20, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  22. Obama Fan

    God bless you and your family.My prayers are with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. ahk, beverly hills, ca

    Reading this brings tears to my eyes. Barack Obama is an exceptional man.

    October 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  24. Ann

    Wishing you a nice loving visit with your dear grandmother whom we know you love with all your heart.

    If it is time for her to rest, please accept it. She knows you are the next President of the USA and that she helped you achieve that.

    October 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. Shyla Swamy

    All my family's prayers to you and your Family Senator Obama. May your grandmother be strong enough for a while longer.

    October 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
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