Barack Obama’s campaign announced yesterday that he will leave the campaign trail on Thursday and Friday to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. Candidates for president don’t just stop campaigning for two days with only two weeks left, so I can only assume her condition is very serious.
“Sen. Obama’s grandmother Madelyn Dunham has always been one of the most important people in his life,” spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
“In the last few weeks, her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Sen. Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her,” Gibbs said.
The interruption will cause Obama to cancel Thursday events in Madison, Wisconsin, and Des Moines, Iowa. He will do an event in Indianapolis, Indiana, Thursday morning before leaving and will return to the campaign Saturday, Gibbs said.
Michelle Obama will fill in for her husband on Friday at previously scheduled events in Columbus and Akron, Ohio, his campaign said.
“Toot,” as Obama called her, is his only surviving parent. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Sen. Obama’s mother died at age 54 of cancer. His maternal grandfather and his father are deceased.”
Unfortunately, my job as a political commentator requires me to say this: Obama has enough of a lead in most swing states that this short break should not hurt him much in the polls. If anything, seeing a man in his position abandon the contest for the most powerful office in the world to spend time with his grandmother brings an air of humanity to the guy. It reminds us that even our presidents are still only human — even Barack Obama.
Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small-business issues.