Obama leaves campaign trail to visit ill grandmother

Obama wrote that he offered to drive her to the bank, telling his grandfather, "It's really no big deal."

"It's a big deal to me," Stanley told his grandson. "She's been bothered by men before. You know why she's so scared this time? ... (S)he told me the fella was black."

Obama then wrote, "The words were like a fist in my stomach, and I wobbled to regain my composure. In my steadiest voice, I told him that such an attitude bothered me, too, but assured him that Toot's fears would pass and that we should give her a ride in the meantime."

In March, several Bank of Hawaii co-workers told The Advertiser they were stunned by Obama's words and had never heard Dunham make comments about anyone's ethnicity.

State Sen. Sam Slom, R-8th (Kahala, Hawaii Kai), was a Bank of Hawaii economist while Dunham was being promoted at Bank of Hawaii.

On Monday Slom said, "I wish her the best. I think she was a very professional woman who broke many barriers here in the state. I have the utmost respect and aloha for her. It was an honor to work with her and be in her presence."

Slom said, "my prayers go to the family. They've been the beneficiaries of her kindness."

Contributing: Derrick DePledge of The Honolulu Advertiser; the Associated Press

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