June 28th, 2013
08:46 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama not ruling out visit to ailing Mandela

(CNN) - President Barack Obama, bound for South Africa on Friday, doesn't appear to be ruling out a visit to Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon in critical condition at a Pretoria hospital.

"We'll see what the situation is when we land. I don't need a photo op and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela's condition," the president told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"I think the main message we'll want to deliver if not directly to him but to his family is simply a profound gratitude for his leadership though all these years and that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with him, his family and his country."

Filed under: Africa • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    "Obama REFUSES to lay hands on Mandela and heal him! How will Obama's callous indifference affect global opinion?"

    Hey Media: give it a rest.

    June 28, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. Joan

    Actually if the President could have visited Mr. Mandela it would have been an historic moment for both of them. The black President who ended apartheid in South Africa meeting the first black American President would have been so meaningful for them both. The First Lady met with him on an earlier visit and Mr. Mandela looked so pleased. If Mr. Mandela is stable enough to know that the President is there he should definitely go. If not he should definitely see his family to extend his sympathy on behalf of the American people. He has said he will do whatever the family wants which is as it should be. President Obama is a very compassionate and caring man. His haters will twist this but that is their problem not his.

    June 28, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I hope they have the opportunity to meet one last time.
    Two historical figures bidding each other farewell.
    Godpseed to you Mr. Mandela. You are loved worldwide.

    June 28, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. dixie

    The last thing the family needs is more press. They have asked for everyone to leave them alone at this time. He should do just that.

    June 28, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Pres. Mandela would want to meet and shake hands, no matter what it takes.

    June 28, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "The last thing the family needs is more press. They have asked for everyone to leave them alone at this time. He should do just that."

    Did you even read what he said? He quite clearly said it's up to them and that he doesn't want to be in any way obtrusive. You guys are so hellbent on criticizing everything he does that you don't even listen to what he's saying before you try to set up the negative talking points. Grow up. It would indeed be a historic meeting, but nobody's trampling anyone here just to make it happen.

    June 28, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Filthy people bash Obama–let me ask where did these filthy GOP idiots go when Bush went to WAR to give Dick Cheney Iraq Haliburton. On tracts?? Crimes committed? And Reagan involved to Iran contra affairs??? Idiots. Color no matter in today century. Know this truth.

    June 28, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |