Was Obama wrong to go visit his sick grandmother?

Today an official McCain spokesman blasted Barack Obama for using his campaign plane to visit his very ill 85-year old grandmother in Hawaii. She’s been frail for a long time, and broke her hip, which can be devastating. In the past, Obama didn’t make it in time to see his mother before she died, so he wanted to make sure he didn’t make the same mistake twice.

Link to article and video

My opinion, which is admittedly biased since I am an Obama supporter and a grandmother, I don’t think it was wrong, but I’d say the same about Mr. McCain (if his grandmother is still living), and it’s not fair to say that Obama should have taken a commercial flight. Besides his entourage, which, sure, he could have left on the mainland (though that doesn’t make sense, since he has to keep on top of so many different details and needs these people), there is his Secret Service detail to deal with.

I just don’t get why McCain couldn’t have just left this alone, but this thread isn’t about McCain’s opinion, it’s my wondering what Dopers, left, right, Republican, Democrat, Independent, other political, non-political, every stripe, think.

What do you think?

(I know there’s another thread about this in IMHO, but it’s more about if you were a grandparent, would you want your grandchild to come visit you if you were ill and they were in the middle of something important. It’s a very different thread. This one is specifically about Obama.)

If McCain can charter a helicopter to get to his Letterman appearance, Sen. Obama can use his campaign plane to go out and see his grandma. I’d think poorly of him if he didn’t, frankly.

No, he was not wrong. You visit relatives when they get seriously injured or ill. It’s the right thing to do, the human thing to do.

That anyone in the Republican party is using this as an excuse to blast Obama is reprehensible.

My dad was an invalid, bed-ridden and clouded by dementia for a long time–long enough to the point that I had gotten used to the idea that he might die any day and lived with that acceptance for years.

But one day I got a call from my mom, and she said he wasn’t doing well. There were no particular symptoms, nothing specific to pin down that his condition was any worse or different than before. But there was something strange in her voice that I’d never heard before when talking about him.

So after giving it a little thought, I jumped in the car and drove overnight, 8 hours away, to be with him. He died that same day. She and I were there by his bedside, each holding one of his hands, when he went.

I don’t know how often I’ve ever acted on a “gut feeling” in my life, but I did that day and I know I would’ve regretted it tremendously if I hadn’t. Obama’s doing the right thing and more power to him for thinking of her and acting upon it, amidst what must be an enormous amount of pressure to not “risk the campaign” or simply to “put it off” another few days.

ArchiveGuy, your story made me tear up. I’m glad you made it in time.

It’s his grandma. He should get there by any means he has available, he wants to take.

He never really knew his father, his mother and grandfather already died, and he spent some time as a child with his grandmother, so he’s understandably close to her and of course he should go. As for the suggestion that he should have taken a commercial flight, my guess is that the Secret Service would have vetoed that idea.

Someone requiring the security detail Obama must have can’t just “hump it on a commercial plane”. He’s at the level where the Secret Service tells you how and when you’ll travel. I don’t think McCain’s allowed to just book a seat on Delta, either.

And if he had. . . can you imagine being the poor slob trying to get to your honeymoon in Hawaii or your business meeting in Sydney and being in the airport or on the plane with Obama and his massive entourage (and the press)?

I’m an Obama supporter and donor, and I approve of his use of my cash, so to speak. He’s not even spending taxpayer money, he’s spending volunteered donations.

(I hope his grandmother turns around and lives to see him sworn in. If she does, odds are pretty good there will be another one of these “get here right now” phone calls, and eventually a funeral. Is this idiot going to get on TV and complain about misuse of Air Force One, too?)

It’s a ridiculous criticism, and I think it will only hurt McCain. Someone like Obama can’t take a commercial flight 2 or 3 weeks before the presidential election. Going to see his grandmother was absolutely the right thing to do, and I wouldn’t think much of him if he didn’t.

(I don’t like Obama or McCain. I’ll vote for one of 'em, I just won’t like it.)

If he didn’t go visit his grandma, you know damn well the McCain campaign would blast him for being a heartless, ambitious son of a bitch.

And, of course, he should go visit his grandma. What kind of sorry so-and-so wouldn’t?

Well, this is the exact wrong time for Obama’s grandmother to be frail and in need, but that’s Life. You do what you gotta do, and be there for your beloved. The expense is because of his current circumstance, and, he’s got to be there for her, not any real choice except not to go.

I so want her to rally and be able to see the grandson she raised to achieve the best wildest dream they would have thought possible.

Last Friday, I was in California. My husband called me from Utah and told me that my sister had been an accident–the car overheated and the radiator exploded in her face. She was in ICU. You better goddamned believe if I had access to a private plane, I’d be using it. As it was, I had to drive 12 hours.

[sub]my sister is healing and fine.[/sub]

What Obsidian said.

If this McCain campaign spokesman is on the payroll, I think his campaign trail might be ending about ten days before everyone else’s…

Sorry to hear that she had to go through that, and you too.

Not wrong. I’m not sure I’d be willing to label his actions wrong if he hadn’t chosen to visit the sick grandmother, but his actions are surely not wrong now.

My grandmother died 14 months ago, suddenly and yet not so suddenly. Her daughters were there at the end, her son was not–things happened too fast. But everyone is very happy that in the preceding six months, she’d seen all her children, both grandchildren and even both great-grandchildren come to visit her.

I’m sorry that Obama’s grandmother is sick at an incovenient time, but sometimes it happens that way. In fact, it often happens that way–when is a good time to be dying?

The critical comments on the flight may have been the stupidest things the campaign has done. There is absolutely no way they were going to win any points for the attack, and if the Republicans were smart they wouldn’t have touched this except to say “Our thoughts are with Senator Obama today.” It makes them look uncaring and belies their “family values” message.

I really couldn’t believe they were stupid enough to score political points over this, even as an attempt to defend themselves. Spending $150,000 on clothing is not the same as going to see your dying grandmother, and trying to equate them is going to impress no one.

Interesting sidenote: my Poli Sci professor, who’s from South Korea, told us that about thirty years ago, there was an assassination attempt on the President (of South Korea) while he was speaking, and that he ducked instinctively so the bullet hit and killed his wife instead. President Park went on with his speech, and Professor Ra said that in South Korea, unlike the US, if Park had gone with his wife and let another official take over, he would have been blasted in the press. In the US, he would have been blasted if he had ignored the murder of his wife and proceeded with the event.

I’m not an Obama supporter, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him going to see her; she’s his grandmother for God’s sake. Of course, if she ends up not dying “on schedule” the visit will be called a publicity stunt for the sympathy vote by the talking heads. sigh.

No, Obama was in no way shape or form wrong for going to visit his grandmother.

I can’t decide if this spokesperson was lambasting him for

a) Taking a few days out of his campaign to visit his dying loved one – if so, that’s just heartless and makes the guy look like a prick, or
b) Taking the campaign jet to do so as a matter of personal business – if so, does he not realize that Obama’s campaign is not funded publicly, and is he willing to suggest that when Palin took the campaign jet to Alaska September 10-13, she was doing so on official campaign business?

Said spokesman is a prat and blithering idiot.