Obama to leave campaign to visit grandmother

With just two weeks to go before the election, Barack Obama is leaving the campaign trail later this week to visit his ill grandmother in Hawaii.

Obama, now leading John McCain by eights points according to a new Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll, will attend a campaign event in Indianapolis Thursday morning before flying to the island state.

Discussing the decision to step off the campaign trail, Obama strategist Robert Gibbs told reporters his close relationship with his grandmother warranted the decision.

"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," Gibbs said. "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 Sen. Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her."

Back in March when Obama gave a speech on race and politics, he described her as "a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world." Obama was scheduled to be in Iowa and Wisconsin during this period. Michelle Obama will hold two events on Friday in Ohio, the campaign announced yesterday.

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