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. Washington Univeristy student for Obama

    My thoughts are with you Senator. I really hope your grandmother gets to see you win this election and gets to see you raise your right hand and taking the oath this coming January.

    October 21, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  2. Herbert Thomas

    all my prayer are with you and your family

    October 21, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  3. Hussein Mberwa

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family... May God bless you all

    October 21, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  4. dv

    I pray for you senator and your grandmother. May the almightly give her the strength to see her grandson sworn in as the president of this great nation

    October 21, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  5. Oregonian for Obama/Biden

    We all pray for her safety

    October 21, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  6. Ex-Republican For Obama

    The nation prays for your grandmother Mr. Obama.

    October 21, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. NC

    may god keep his loving arms around you and your family during this time .i pray that you remain safe,my prayers are with you and your grandmother,i know every american in some way another is going thru or have ben thru times like you are having right now with a love one,remember god is with you at all times

    October 21, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  8. Trevor from Canada

    Senator Obama, we understand your pain. May God bless your family

    October 21, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. hubert

    Seantor Obama, this will be time spent that money can't buy and you will treasure for the rest of your life. My prayers are with you and your Grandmother.

    October 21, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. connie

    Senator Obama, we pray for you everyday, and now "Toot" is in our prays too.

    Get some rest and stay with God.

    October 21, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Retired Army in San Antonio

    A grandson's gotta do what a grandson's gotta do......

    Get well soon, Mrs Dunham.

    October 21, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. rich

    It's times like these that I love America more. These comments exemplifies America at her best. I add my prayers as well, and trust that Obamas grandmother hold on at least until Nov. 4th.

    October 21, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  13. alex

    My prayers are with you and your family

    October 21, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  14. chuckles199

    this is a stunt. looking for the sympathy vote.

    October 21, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  15. Irene

    Praying for your grandma and may God Protect you and your entire family Senator

    October 21, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  16. Rusty

    Our hopes and prayers are with you and your Grandmother Barack.

    October 21, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  17. Gossamer

    Some of ur comments almost left me teary.

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

    Yes, we are.

    Ellie and Ira: "...We believe in you and you make us believe in ourselves. We love you."

    Yes, we do.

    B, you made your grandma proud.

    October 21, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. Kenny B

    Senator Obama,

    I wish your grandmother, you and your family strength to get through this difficult peroid. May God Bless you and keep you.

    October 21, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  19. Aurora From Hackensack, NJ

    Obama I hope you can get a sense of the kindness and strength of your support .. We love you and your beautiful family and pray that God continues to protect you and your family from harm's way... I pray that your Grandmother gets to see you become OUR next president. You have an army of angels from heaven on your side....Our support for you is unwavering be with your family during this difficult time MAY GOD BLESS YOU ...

    WE GOT YOUR BACK – Obama 08,12

    October 21, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  20. Elizabeth

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your grandmother, and your family. You are a precious family who have blessed our lives, and we love you.

    October 21, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. Richard in Chicago

    Our prayers are with you.

    October 21, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  22. Christopher

    God bless you and your family Senator. It is only through those that brought us to adulthood that we have strength. Her life is a testament to yours.

    October 21, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  23. Karen - South Africa

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time and like most of the people out there following this election, we pray that your grandmother will be with you when you become the next President of the United States of America.
    God Bless

    October 21, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  24. laura

    You and your family are in our prayers ....

    October 21, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  25. Jeanine G

    Family First. We'll hold the fort.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 21, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
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