Obama Says Ailing Grandmother ‘Inundated’ With Well-Wishes

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 23, 2008 3:27pm

ABC News’ Robin Roberts reports: Barack Obama said his ailing grandmother has been "inundated" with get-well wishes from strangers since he announced that he is leaving the campaign trail for a day to spend time with her.

Obama is flying to Honolulu, Hawaii today to visit his grandmother Madelyn Dunham, 85, who is gravely ill.

"She has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails and flowers from total strangers who have read about her in my first book," Obama said in an interview airing Friday on "Good Morning America."

"And so maybe she is getting a sense of, of long-deserved recognition at — towards the end of her life," Obama told "GMA" in his last interview before leaving his campaign for over 36 hours.

Watch Barack Obama’s interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" Friday at 7 a.m. EST

Obama’s grandmother is very ill and recently suffered a broken hip.

The Obama campaign has declined to specify the nature of her illness, but has said it is quite serious.

Dunham raised Obama during his teenage years in Hawaii while his mother worked in Indonesia.

Obama has spoken of her often during the campaign, most notably during a speech on race in March when he said he could no more disown Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his controversial comments than his grandmother. Obama has said his grandmother, who is white and from Kansas, "on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

Obama, who is leading McCain 54-43 in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll, is taking time off the campaign trail with just over a week to go before Election Day.

When asked about McCain’s remark today that Obama would "say anything to get elected," Obama argued his own campaign has been less negative.

"I don’t wanna get into a tit for tat with Senator McCain," Obama told Roberts, "I think it’s fair to say that if you look at the quality of our campaign and theirs, who’s been more consistent? Who has been more civil? Who’s talked about the issues as opposed to trying to attack people’s character? I think we get a pretty good grade."

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