Barack Obama said Friday morning his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, is gravely ill and might not live until election day. He’s been with her in Hawaii, where he was born, leaving the campaigning to Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So how did the Repubican ticket make the most of a day without the front-runner on the scene? As Rachel Maddow put it, they had a cringe-inducing day, like pimples on prom night. This six-minute clip shows why Maddow is cable’s rising star; her ratings have doubled in one month.

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