October 20th, 2008
09:58 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama to leave trail to visit ailing grandmother

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/20/art.obama22.gi.jpg caption="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. BM

    My prayers arewith you Senator Obama.
    I believe Joe Biden's wants the people to know that even though he has Powell's endorsement, that he has him and to focus on him to be the one to turn ti in times of an international crisis.

    October 21, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  2. BM

    Joe Biden saw that an endorsement from Powell was taking the attention away from him and he wanted to let the people know not to underestimate him as a foreign policy expert.

    October 21, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. BM

    I don't think John McCain would be the one to be tested. He has already been tested and he would be as erratic in times of a crisis as he was with the economy, if not worse. Let, be realistic, McCain does not have a steady hand or the temperament in times of a world crisis.

    October 21, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  4. BM

    This day has brought tears to my eyes, but God is the answer always.
    I remember what a loving grandmother I had who helped my mother to raise me.

    October 21, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  5. tennisguypitt

    My thoughts are with you Senator Obama, I wish your grandmother well.

    It is truly honorable to stop campaigning to visit a dying relative.

    October 21, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. jerry in suffolk va

    god bless Obama and his family.

    October 21, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |

    Wishing your grandmother a quick recovery and the hoping to see her at your inauguration in January.

    October 21, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Renee

    As Americans we are a loving and prayerful people. We stand united in love and faith with the hope and belief that God will be merciful and keep Grandma Dunham here a little while longer. Peace and love to Senator Obama and his entire family during this trying time. Please consider sending your comments to Senator Obama via his website. He is more likely to get them from his staff that way. I am sure it would strengthen him.

    October 21, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Shari in galesburg

    My thoughts and prayer are with you and your family in the trying time!!! God Bless.

    October 21, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. mohmmad


    October 21, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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