Other News...
sponsored by Richardson Repair

After sad visit, Obama returns to campaign trail

Send a link to a friend

[October 25, 2008]  RENO, Nev. (AP) -- After saying goodbye to his failing grandmother, presidential candidate Barack Obama resumes campaigning Saturday with visits to formerly Republican states he hopes to drag into the Democratic column.

He plans two rallies in Nevada, with an emphasis on getting supporters to vote early - locking in votes that might not materialize if people get busy or stay home because of bad weather. Then he'll take the vote-early message to New Mexico.

Auto RepairBoth states backed Republican George Bush in 2004, but they're up for grabs this year, with New Mexico looking especially promising for Democrats.

The Illinois senator was off the campaign trail for a day and a half so he could spend time with his grandmother, who is gravely ill. Obama says he doesn't know if she will live to see Election Day.

Obama spent about seven hours Thursday and Friday with Madelyn Dunham, whom he calls Toot - a version of the Hawaiian word tutu, or grandparent. His sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, joined them.

"We're all praying ... but one of the things I want to make sure of is I had a chance to sit down with her and to talk to her," Obama said in an interview with ABC. "She's still alert and she's still got all her faculties. And I want to make sure that I don't miss that opportunity."

While Obama focused on family, he wasn't able to leave the campaign behind entirely.


He traveled the streets of Honolulu, where he was born and spent much of his childhood, in a motorcade of police cars and Secret Service vehicles. A pool of reporters tagged along. Supporters waited in hopes of spotting him for a few seconds.

Even an attempt to take a quiet walk through his old neighborhood involved guards and a crowd of reporters and cameras, attracting attention from passers-by. Obama, clad in jeans, a black shirt and sandals, quickly gave up on the idea and returned to his grandmother's apartment building in an SUV.

A steady stream of flowers for Dunham arrived throughout the day, and dozens of people gathered, holding signs and T-shirts.

Anita Manzana was among them. She said Obama's decision to spend time with his grandmother shows how humble he is.

"I think family values, to him, are very important," said Manzana, an administrative assistant for a state agency. "He doesn't forget where he came from. His grandmother means a lot to him."

Obama was born in Hawaii, where his Kansas-born mother and Kenyan father met as college students.

[to top of second column]


Dunham and her husband, Stanley, raised Obama for extended periods when his mother lived overseas. He spent years living in the two-bedroom apartment where Dunham is trying to recuperate from a broken hip.

In his memoir "Dreams from My Father," Obama described his grandfather as something of a dreamer. It was his grandmother who was practical enough to support the family by working her way up to vice president at a local bank.

He has often mentioned her as an example of a strong woman succeeding through intelligence and determination. Many of his speeches describe her working on a bomber assembly line during World War II.

David Mendell, author of the biography "Obama: From Promise to Power," interviewed Dunham in 2004 and concluded that she helped ground Obama and give him a sense of pragmatism.

"You can't underestimate, I think, her influence," Mendell said. "It's only second, I think, to his mother's influence in shaping who he is. His grandfather was a little bit disconnected from the family. But she was really the woman who stabilized the household."


Dunham, who turns 86 on Sunday, has not campaigned for Obama but has followed the presidential race closely, even getting a corneal transplant so she could see the television better. She appeared briefly in an Obama ad, a frail white woman talking about her black grandson's "depth and a broadness of view."


Associated Press writer Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.

[Associated Press; By CHRISTOPHER WILLS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor