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. Coloradoan for change

    I am sending healing thoughts in your Grandmother's direction in hopes that she may see her precious Grandson be sworn in as the President of the greatest country on the planet. God Bless.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  2. Tom

    This is the same grandmother that Obama thru under the bus. Also I don't believe Michelle will be going unless she needs a 2 day trip (vacation) – she never visited her on their last trip to Hawaii. Gosh he acts like they were poor. His grandmother was a bank's vice-president.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  3. douglas

    Our prayers are with you and grandmother. I hope your grandmother capable see your first black president of White House. We love you all hearts. Giving you warm with your grandmother. I pray you again.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  4. Pat

    Lets all pray for Obama. May God's hands be with him.
    May God spare Obama's grandma to see the end of this campagn. I will pray Rosary for Obama and his family tomorrow.

    October 20, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. KJS/Alabama

    Senator & Mrs. Obama,

    Thank you for your hard effort in trying to make this a better world for all America; I pray for you and your family daily.

    Senator Obama, my heart goes out to you concerning your ill grandmother, my prayer is that she will get better and be able to see November 4, 2008; on this day all of her hard work and sacrifices will come full circle; when Senator Barack Obama will become President Barack Obama!
    But whatever the outcome concerning your grandmother, we know that God makes no mistakes and with Him all things are possible.

    In His Service,

    Obama/Biden ‘08

    October 20, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  6. Jim

    My prayers are with you and your family Senator Obama. Take care of your grandmother, we are so much behind you.

    October 20, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  7. Brain in DC

    Best wishes....

    October 21, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. Ellie & Ira

    We pray for your Grandmother's recovery, and we pray that G-d will bless you with good health and keep you safe always so you can best serve America as the 44th President of the United States. We believe in you and you make us believe in ourselves. We love you.

    October 21, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. jerry, San Francisco, CA

    Your grandmother will always be within you, and through you, with us. She has reached our hearts, minds, and souls. We are with you.

    October 21, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  10. Danny

    You take care of family Obama.
    That's what you're all about.
    God Speed!

    October 21, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Mema

    God bless you and your family, I will continue to pray that you will keep your trust in God in everything.

    October 21, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. fred

    My prayers are with you, I hope and pray that God keeps your grandmother long enough for her to witness a piece of your presidency.

    October 21, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  13. Sandy

    Godspeed to Mr. Obama and his family.

    October 21, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. AUC

    God bless you Barack. You, your Grandmother and your entire family are in our prayers. I am truly thankful for the decent, Christian values that your Grandmother obviously raised you with. You have the heart and the grace of a true leader. May God be with her and give her grace and strenght to allow her the opportunity to see you become the next President of the United States and beyond! I know in my heart that she gives you strength and I'm sure you do the same for her.

    Hang in ther Barack – God keep you strong!!

    WE LOVE YOU AND WE NEED YOU!!!!! Obama/08/12

    October 21, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. Kris F.

    Strength and Healing for your precious Grandmother. Be safe and we are behind you all the way!

    October 21, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. Briana

    God Bless your grandmother, may she be blessed with strength.

    October 21, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. Perusing-Through


    GOD Bless the United States of America!
    GOD Bless the Obama-Biden Leadership Team!

    October 21, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. vw

    Of course we should pray for her grandmom.

    But we cannot understand why he did not visit her mom while she was dying???

    When you recalled his campaign, you will find an interesting thing there, each time when this guy had trouble, he always can have an excuse to step out the trail for a while...

    Hope this time is true and wish the GRANDMOM FEELS BETTER SOON...

    October 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. Your Move

    God Bless you, your grandmother and entire family Sen. Obama. Mrs. Dunham and your grandfather "paid it forward" by carrying on where your mother sadly had to leave off. We your suporters are so unbelievable thankful for the gift they gave to us in your spirit, decency, and vision not just for one but for ALL. And in that gift of paying forward from your grandmother to your mother and then onto you and you to us WE can become better people and a better nation for the time when our pay it forward reflects in the greatness of our children and our children's children by ushering in the day of your historical presidency of the UNITED States of America. Thank you. and God speed.

    October 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  20. Neptali

    May the Good Lord bless your Family in this time of trouble and grief. I also pray that the Good Lord bless the Mccain campaign too, that they may show a little sensitive in this Family matters. After all, we are all humans at the end of the day. My thoughts and prayers goes out to the Dunham and Obama Family..... God bless

    October 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  21. DJ in Colorado

    I pray for you and your family Sen. Obama. Be safe and God speed.

    October 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  22. Dee

    Prayers for you and your family!!

    October 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  23. Judith D.

    Senator Obama,my thoughts and prayers are with you and your gramma at this time.I hope she has a speedy recovery.We love you very much....our next President of the U.S. of America.God bless you.

    October 21, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  24. Cew

    Senator Obama, my prayers are with you and your family. I will continue to pray for your Grandmother. Travel safely, and may God continue to bless all of you.

    October 21, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  25. John

    May God Bless Obama and his family through this ordeal. I hope that he loses the election because he is not qualified. Both McCain and Obama are good people, but Obama does not have the qualifications nor the experience. Biden is right, Obama would be tested if elected because he has made too many errors already and telegraphed our enemies that he is weak and leave the US ripe for attack. When the going got tough, Obama wanted to cut and run in Iraq. McCain was right about the surge and now we are much better off that we did what McCain recommended. Obama & Democrats are at fault for our current financial crisis. They refused to regulate Fannie and Freddie and Obama accepted over $125k from those people. I am voting for McCain.

    October 21, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
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