Barack Obama will leave the campaign trail for a couple of days at the end of this week to see his ailing grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who apparently has fallen ill. Robert Gibbs released this statement on behalf of Team Obama:
Senator Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has always been one of the most important people in his life. Along with his mother and his grandfather, she raised him in Hawaii from the time he was born until the moment he left for college. As he said at the Democratic Convention, she poured everything she had into him.
Recently, his Grandmother has become ill, and in the last few weeks, her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Senator Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her. He will be returning the the campaign trail on Saturday.
First and most importantly, we all hope that Mrs. Dunham recovers quickly from her serious illness. All other issues aside, we can certainly understand that Senator Obama needs to tend to family. I believe he’s her next of kin, and if the issues are that serious, then he has a responsibility that transcends a couple of campaign appearances, and he’s doing the right thing.
We’re getting some e-mail on this subject. First, Gibbs’ short bio is a little inaccurate, but hardly deceptive. Obama’s mother raised him until she sent him back from Indonesia, but it’s a harmless exaggeration in a blurb that’s intended to remind people of her importance to Obama.
Next, some people wonder whether Obama is really returning to Hawaii to get his birth certificate to respond to a couple of lawsuits. Obama could just as easily have signed a limited power of attorney and hired a couple of lawyers to do that. With $150 million in contributions last month, the campaign certainly could have afforded several top-flight lawyers for this task.
Obama will return to the campaign trail on Saturday. Team O can certainly run the campaign in his absence for 48 hours, and there shouldn’t be any calls to suspend the campaign or to stop running comparative advertising in the final two weeks. Team O ridiculed John McCain for doing just that in the midst of a national crisis, and it would be the worst kind of hypocrisy to demand that kind of treatment in the middle of a personal crisis.
Update: Ben Smith at Politico links this under the headline, “Dept. of Sanity”. That’s us! Although I’m going to disappoint one commenter in the thread who thinks I’m a closet Obama voter. Er, not really.