Obama visiting Grandma, McCain POW video released

Here’s a little departure from the back-and-forth of the campaign trail for some stories which register more on the emotional side of the dial. First, Sen. Obama is taking a couple days off to visit his ailing Grandmother in Hawaii, fearing her health is deteriorating. Also today, footage of Sen. McCain as a POW in Vietnam was released by a French news agency which interviewed him in the Hanoi Hilton at the time.

Report on Obama’s departure from Politico:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With only 12 days until the election, Barack Obama will take himself out of public view Thursday for almost two full days to travel to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother.

Campaign aides told media accompanying Obama to Honolulu that they can expect to see little of the candidate during the trip, other than routine shots of him walking to and from the motorcade.

“This is an opportunity for him to spend personal time with his grandmother, a woman who has played a significant role in his life,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

Obama is expected to arrive on the island around 7 p.m. local time and head to the downtown apartment building where he grew up and where his 85-year-old grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, still resides. He will spend Friday with her before leaving in the late afternoon for Reno, Nev., where he will resume campaigning Saturday.

Video of Obama discussing this from Sky News:

God bless his Grandmother as this is much more personal that political.

Next, some very fascinating footage of John McCain as a prisoner of war was released today by a French news agency, here’s the report from USAToday followed by the video:

PARIS (AP) — A French national archive has posted online extended footage of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain being interviewed as a bedridden prisoner during the Vietnam War.

French reporter Francois Chalais conducted the interview. His widow says the online release this week of 4 minutes, 33 seconds of footage is the fullest distribution of the interview since it first aired four decades ago.

The video shows McCain shirtless and unshaven, smoking a cigarette. Answering questions from Chalais, he spoke about being shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 25, 1967, and parachuting into a lake.

At times, when speaking of his family, McCain’s lower lip trembles and his voice breaks.

“I was on a flight over the city (Hanoi) … and I was bombing and I was hit by a missile or anti-aircraft fire, I’m not sure which,” he said, adding that his plane “went straight down.”

After landing in the lake, McCain said he “was picked up and taken to the hospital, where I almost died.”

In the interview, McCain said he was treated well by his Vietnamese captors. Asked about the food, he told his French interviewer, “It’s not like Paris … (but) I eat it.”

The exact date of the interview is not clear, but it appeared to be taken in late 1967.

The French national audiovisual archive INA is posting the interview on its website, www.ina.fr, for one week. It was first broadcast on French television program Panorama in January 1968.

Here is about four and a half minutes, not sure if this is all of it or not:

Can’t even imagine what that must have been like.