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. lee in canada

    our prayers are with you and your gran senator obama..may the lord keep her safe ..

    October 20, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. Rob

    God Bless you, and your family at this time of need. I pray for you, and wish you all the strength and fortitude you will need in the coming days.

    October 20, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. fran from canada

    Obama I send my prayers to you and your family and hope that your grandmother recovers to see you become the next president of the united states.
    Matt you are right about Fox website after reading the blogs there I am glad I am not an American, so much hatred, anger, and racism its sad too see, even comments about Obama and his grandmother. God Bless You All!

    October 20, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Enough is enough from Dallas, Tx

    May God keep your grandmother in his arms and bless her to see you become the next president of the United States. As a mom; I know the pride your grandmother feels towards you. You were so lucky to have grandparents who loved you so much and they are so blessed to have you because you are a kind, gentle, loving grandson. Senator Obama, may God bless you, your grandmother, your family and may he "make you shine like a star and hoid you in the palm of his hands..."

    October 20, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Lee for Obama

    My family and I send prayers to you and your family. God willing we hope that your grandmother recovers.

    October 20, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. Mn voter

    Let's see now. MCCain leaves the campain trail to go back to D.C to conduct our countries business. For that he is called names and made fun of. Now Obama leaves the trail to visit his grandma. Gee isn't that sweet. Bit of a double standard here don't you think.

    MCCain-Palin 08

    October 20, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  7. p k singh

    I wish her the best of health and sincerely hope see is there to see the coronation of barack as the president. An event of history that would be so fulfilling for her.

    October 20, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  8. Carol and Bruce Levy

    May God give Mrs. Dunham a rufuah shlama (a prayer for a speedy recovery).

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Barack and his family at this difficult time

    We hope that Mrs. Dunham will rally and get well soon.

    God Bless you all.

    October 20, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. s.positive

    We are praying for you and the team Obama and may God continue to keep you all safe and strong

    October 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. jojodancer1119

    Senator Obama, I hope you'll be able to enjoy the time you have with your grandmother. Cherish those days forever.

    October 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. pauline

    my prayer is with you Senator Obama and your family. I wish your grandmother the best of health, to see her grandson make history.
    I hope Senator mcain and governor palin will not be so low to attack you in your time of grief.

    October 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. Michael S. O'Brien

    Senator Barack Obama.., 'the best to you and your family'. You and your family are in our prayers. We enjoyed your family in Butte, Montana on July 4th. Mike in Montana

    October 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  13. SHELLI1313

    I am truly sorry to hear about Senator Obama's Grandmother. I pray that she gets better, but, if not I pray that she has no pain and has a peacefull transition. God be with you Senator Obama and your family.

    Much Respect

    October 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  14. lee in canada

    senator obama our thoughts are with you and your gran..we will pray for you both..god bless

    October 20, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  15. Chris in Texas

    Our hopes and prayers are with you and your family Mr. Obama. Safe travels and speedy recover for your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  16. Independent99999

    May God Bless you, Sir.

    October 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  17. David in Colorado

    PLEASE, PLEASE, Senator McCain, show us the great man you used to be and refrain from attacking Senator Obama's character during the two days he is visiting his grandmother. All of us - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - can understand the emotions generated by the loss (or serious illness) of a loved one, and we need to respect that. I am a fervent supporter of Senator Obama; however, I would make the same plea to our campaign if it were your or Governor Palin's relative. We are, after all, humans first, Americans second, and members of political parties a distant third.

    God Bless you, "Toot" - our prayers go out to you for a full recovery.

    October 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  18. PAgayman4Obama

    Our prayers go out to the Obama family for the hopes that grandma gets better or will make her transition from this life to the next in peace and not in pain. You raised a fine grandson and you can rest in knowing that he will represent his country to the best of his abilities. it was those values he learned at your knee that have shaped him into the leader i truly admire and respect. We will keep the message of change and justice rolling Mr. President as you care for your grandmother. After all it s the least we can do for you have dome so much for us! GOD BLESS!

    October 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  19. Chris

    My best wishes to Obama and his family. I pray she can watch him be sworn in next year.

    October 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  20. Marie

    Obama and Family,

    May God Be With You "All" throughout your journey giving you the strength and endurance to tackle unwelcomed obstacles that may cross your paths. Always look to GOD which cometh your help and pray. Pray for your grandmother's health but through all things and when everything else is said and done, Let God's Perfect Will be done... To God be the glory!!! Forever amen.....

    October 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. KM in OHIO

    Situations like this make the fact that candidates are people first really stand out. My thoughts are with you and your family!

    October 20, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. mary

    Meanwhile we will be voting for you here in Florida!

    October 20, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. t @ central cali

    Senator Obama, you and your family will be in my prayers. God bless.

    October 20, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. David

    My prayer to you and your family

    October 20, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. NH For Obama

    my prayers are with you , barack.

    take as long as you need, for we are millions supporting you, and do not worry – you will not lose any of your motion, or all your positives that you have gAINED....

    i know you will WIN, but right now, is a time to put family first....

    my prayers are with you, during this very difficult time.

    October 20, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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