Obama's own campaign suspension

This time around, it's Barack Obama who's leaving the trail briefly, to visit his ailing grandmother.

Published October 21, 2008 2:14PM (EDT)

Barack Obama will be taking a couple of days off from the campaign trail at the end of this week, his campaign announced Monday night. On Thursday, he plans to fly to Hawaii, where his grandmother -- who essentially raised him for much of his adolescence -- lives. She's reportedly very ill. He'll then be back campaigning Saturday.

Naturally, there has been some speculation as to what this will mean for his campaign. The New York Times' Michael Powell, for one, wrote, "To leave with Election Day only two weeks away carries an element of risk. Mr. Obama is running ahead of his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, in national polls, but his lead in some has not been large."

There's no denying that there's some risk, but in a campaign like this, there's some risk to practically everything. In the scheme of things, this seems like a relatively low-risk affair. (Certainly there's less risk involved here than in John McCain's "suspension" of his campaign.) The events Obama had to cancel are in Iowa and Wisconsin, two states that seem like locks for him. And it's not as if an absence of two days is the worst thing in the world -- McCain regularly took weekends off earlier in the campaign.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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