US presidential hopeful Barack Obama is to take time off from campaigning to visit his sick grandmother in Hawaii.
Madelyn Dunham, 85, whom Obama credits with having helped raise him after his mother died, is said to be seriously ill.
The news came as the Democratic candidate made a rare joint appearance with his former foe Hillary Clinton at a rally in Florida. It was no surprise the two appeared shoulder to shoulder as Florida, hit hard by the economic crisis,is a key state to win.
“I know this is going to take a new direction,” Obama told supporters.
“It will take new leadership in Washington, it will take real change in policies and politics. We have got to reverse the last eight years. That is what this election is all about.”
Voting in the battleground state is already underway, two weeks ahead of the election on November 4. Some 27 electoral votes up for grabs, but last time Florida backed the Republican ticket.
In Missouri, John McCain was arguing that he has a safe pair of hands to deal with the economy.
“I know you are worried. I know you are worried.,” he told a rally.
“America is a great country but we are in a moment of national crisis that will determine our future.”
But latest opinion polls for the Republican candidate won’t make for easy reading. Obama has an eight point lead, opening up an advantage with two swing groups – women and independent voters.