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. jack

    Thoughts and prayers for Grandma & Senator Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. SD,Michigan

    My prayers for Sen Obama's grandmother. I wish her speedy recovery -she HAS to get well, to see her grandson become President!

    October 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan


    October 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. A Senior Southern Lady - NC

    Barack Obama is, indeed, the good and decent man that I think he is and his leaving the campaign trail at this most-important time to be with his grandmother just verifies this. I hope his grandmother lives long enough to see this extrordinary man, the first of his race, sworn in as president of the United States. He is a credit to her and he will make both his grandmother and this nation proud.

    October 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. mary, VA

    I Hope she feel better, Don't go yet Grand ma, wait to see your grand son, Barak elected as President of United States, so hang in there , don't go

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. bern

    The prayers of the world go with you.

    October 20, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. michele

    my prayer is with you and your family. i hope mcain will not be so low to attack you in your time of grief.

    October 20, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  8. JK

    I'm with you Sen Obama, I know that God will allow your Grandma see you as the next president.

    October 20, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  9. Daria

    I hope she will get well soon. may god bless her.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. Larry-Detroit, Mi

    Go to your grandmother and witness her speedy recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. P. From the Northwest

    Wishing your grandma a very well wishes and a better health as well. God be with you Senator Obama and the rest of your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. RJ

    His grandmother should be proud of his achievements. I hope she will be there to see the President-Elect Obama.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. Micheal

    Now this guy is using his sick grandmother for political gain. It's too bad, so sad.

    This election has proven one thing that I have never thought it would happen before, that is Blacks are the ones who are racists, not Whites, since I had always thought the opposite. (and I am not White)

    The endorsement of Collin Powell came at no surprise at all, even I predicted before he came on to NBC to announce this stinky support for Obama that he was going to back Obama.

    Mr. Powell, you don't have to try to say bad thing about the McCain-Palin ticket as the reason to endorse Obama because even a ten-year-old child could know the main reason for you to back this guy. It is because Obama is Black as you!. How shame this could be for a former General, who I had very high respect before this endorsement. I've lost all my respects for you as well as for other Blacks. If you are a wise and unbiased human being, you should had not endorsed anybody but too bad, you have proven to me that you are just one of most of the Black people out there, follow Obama because he is Black!.

    The media doesn't have to ask Condoleeza Rice or any other Black Republicans in office who she/he is going to vote for on November, 4. It will be worthless because I know for sure, she/he is going for Obama!. This is a wake-up call for Whites who support Obama to ask themselves: Why should they support Obama?

    If Mr. Obama gets elected, very soon this great country will be turned into an Africa-like-country, for example, like Zimbabewe.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  14. zuq

    Prayers are with you and your grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. sylvia

    This just shows that Obama has moral values. Obama's grandparents are very lucky to have him as grandson. I will include your grandma , grandpa and your family in my prayers. If you become President of The USA , I will pray That The Holy Spirit continually fill you with His gifts especially the gifts of love, humility , patience, knlowledge and wisdom. God Bless you and your family and God Bless America,

    October 20, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. Larry-Detroit

    Go to your grandmother and witness her speedy recovery.

    October 20, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. dld

    My prayers are with you and your family! I so hope your grandmother can pull through. How very blessed you have been in having a wonderful grandmother to help you grow & to guide you through life.
    Please thank her for for all of us for the fine man you have become!
    Surely our next president of the USA!

    October 20, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Kim Nashville

    May God bless her to see her grandson make history.

    October 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. Dan, NC

    My prayers are with you and your family, Senator Obama. I hope your Grandmother get better to see you elected President of this great nation. It's the right thing to do at this time of tribulation in your personal life. It makes me so proud to be supporting you and voting for you. I can't wait until Nov 4th to be part of “history in the making” and until Jan 21st to proudly call you my commander-in-chief. God bless you.

    October 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  20. Julia

    We all know that "Toot" is very proud of the grandson she helped to raise. Character is taught from the home and she must be a very strong woman. Our prayers are with Barrack's grandma since she has given us the gift of the next president of the United States.

    October 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  21. Jorge

    Senator Obama,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    October 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  22. weneedstrongleadership

    I can see it now, McCain will come out and say something like, may love and health be with Obama's family. When McCain and Palin could have something to do with Obama's grandmather's health. She could have worried and disliked all the negativity thrown at Obama, I know if I was a mother/grandmother, this type of thing would and as an american it has affected my own health not to mention the health of the american people.

    This only proves where Obama's heart is and that it's not all about himself as some angry Republicans will say. Obama is a true family man and be commended for his love of family.

    A good majority of america is behind you and wish you and your family good health.... 🙂

    October 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  23. JWR

    Oh I hope she gets well soon. She needs to see her Grandson and she needs to see him become OUR next President of these United States. What a proud moment for any Grandmother.

    October 20, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |

    may god keep your grandma so she can see the wonderful young man she nutured become the next president of the United States of American

    Obama 08

    October 20, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. GET REAL!!!!!!!!

    I wish her all the best from my heart


    A McCain supporter

    October 20, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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