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Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro

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Geraldine Anne Ferraro was an American attorney, a Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. She was the first female Vice Presidential
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 candidate representing a major
Major party
A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:...

 American political party
Political parties in the United States
This article presents the historical development and role of political parties in United States politics, and outlines more extensively the significant modern political parties. Throughout most of its history, American politics have been dominated by a two-party system...

.

Ferraro grew up in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and became a teacher
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

 and lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

. She joined the Queens County
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 District Attorney's Office
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

 in 1974, where she headed the new Special Victims Bureau that dealt with sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. She was elected to the House in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. In 1984, former Vice President and presidential candidate Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

 selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so she became the only Italian American
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

 to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. The positive polling the Mondale-Ferraro ticket received when she joined faded as questions about her and her husband's finances arose. In the general election, Mondale and Ferraro were defeated in a landslide
Landslide victory
In politics, a landslide victory is the victory of a candidate or political party by an overwhelming margin in an election...

 by incumbent President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and Vice President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

.

Ferraro ran campaigns for a seat in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from New York in 1992 and 1998, both times starting as the front-runner for her party's nomination before losing in the primary election. She served as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

 from 1993 until 1996, in the presidential administration
Presidency of Bill Clinton
The United States Presidency of Bill Clinton, also known as the Clinton Administration, was the executive branch of the federal government of the United States from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. Clinton was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second full term...

 of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. She also continued her career as a journalist
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, and businesswoman
Businessperson
A businessperson is someone involved in a particular undertaking of activities for the purpose of generating revenue from a combination of human, financial, or physical capital. An entrepreneur is an example of a business person...

, and served in the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

. Ferraro died on , 2011, from multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma , also known as plasma cell myeloma or Kahler's disease , is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally responsible for the production of antibodies...

, 12 years after being diagnosed.

Early life and education



Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York
Newburgh (city), New York
Newburgh is a city located in Orange County, New York, United States, north of New York City, and south of Albany, on the Hudson River. Newburgh is a principal city of the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown metropolitan area, which includes all of Dutchess and Orange counties. The Newburgh area was...

, the daughter of Antonetta L. Ferraro (née
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

 Corrieri), a first-generation Italian American
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

 seamstress, and Dominick Ferraro, an Italian immigrant and owner of two restaurants. She had three brothers born before her, but one died in infancy and another at age three. Ferraro attended the parochial school Mount Saint Mary's in Newburgh when she was young. Her father died of a heart attack in , when she was eight. Ferraro's mother soon invested and lost the remainder of the family's money, forcing the family to move to a low-income area in the South Bronx while Ferraro's mother worked in the garment industry to support them.

Ferraro stayed on at Mount Saint Mary's as a boarder for a while, then briefly attended a parochial school in the South Bronx. Beginning in 1947, she attended and lived at the parochial Marymount Academy in Tarrytown, New York
Tarrytown, New York
Tarrytown is a village in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about north of midtown Manhattan in New York City, and is served by a stop on the Metro-North Hudson Line...

, using income from a family rental property in Italy and skipping seventh grade. At Marymount Ferraro was a member of the honor society
Honor society
In the United States, an honor society is a rank organization that recognizes excellence among peers. Numerous societies recognize various fields and circumstances. The Order of the Arrow, for example, is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America...

, active in several clubs and sports, voted most likely to succeed, and graduated in 1952. Her mother was adamant that she get a full education, despite an uncle in the family saying, "Why bother? She's pretty. She's a girl. She'll get married." Ferraro attended Marymount Manhattan College
Marymount Manhattan College
Marymount Manhattan College is an urban, coeducational, independent, private, liberal arts college located in Manhattan, New York City, New York with a focus in performing arts. The mission of the College is to educate a socially and economically diverse student body by fostering intellectual...

 with a scholarship while sometimes holding two or three jobs at the same time. During her senior year she began dating John Zaccaro
John Zaccaro
John Anthony Zaccaro is a real estate developer and owner of P. Zaccaro & Company, which was founded by his father Philip Zaccaro in 1935. The company acts as a landlord for properties in the Little Italy, Chinatown, and East Side areas of Manhattan and in Queens. He is the widower of the late...

 of Forest Hills, Queens
Forest Hills, Queens
Forest Hills is a neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York, United States.-Neighborhood:The neighborhood is home to upper-middle class residents, of whom the wealthier residents often live in the neighborhood's Forest Hills Gardens area...

, who had graduated from Iona College
Iona College (New York)
Iona College is located in New Rochelle, New York, 20 miles north of Manhattan in suburban Westchester County. The college occupies 35 acres on North Ave. The college also operates a Graduate Center in Pearl River, Rockland County, New York....

 with a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. Ferraro received a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in English in 1956; she was the first woman in her family to gain a college degree. She also passed the city exam to become a licensed school teacher
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

.

Ferraro began working as an elementary school
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

 teacher in public schools in Astoria, Queens
Astoria, Queens
Astoria is a neighborhood in the northwestern corner of the borough of Queens in New York City. Located in Community Board 1, Astoria is bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside , and Woodside...

, "because that's what women were supposed to do." Unsatisfied, she decided to attend law school; an admissions officer said to her, "I hope you're serious, Gerry. You're taking a man's place, you know." She earned a Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 degree with honors from Fordham University School of Law
Fordham University School of Law
Fordham University School of Law is a part of Fordham University in the United States. The School is located in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, and is one of eight ABA-approved law schools in that city.-Overview:According to the U.S. News & World Report, 1,516 J.D. students attend...

 in 1960, going to classes at night while continuing to work as a second-grade teacher at schools such as P.S. 57 during the day. Ferraro was one of only two women in her graduating class of 179. She was admitted to the bar
Admission to the bar in the United States
In the United States, admission to the bar is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission , which can lead to different admission...

 of New York State in .

Family, lawyer, prosecutor


Ferraro became engaged to Zaccaro in and married him on , 1960. He became a realtor and businessman. She kept her birth name professionally, as a way to honor her mother for having supported the family after her father's death, but used his name in parts of her private life. The couple had three children, Donna (born 1962), John Jr. (born 1964), and Laura (born 1966). They lived in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens
Forest Hills Gardens, Queens
Forest Hills Gardens is a community located in Forest Hills, in the New York City borough of Queens. Its streets are privately owned but open to traffic. The Northern Border runs along the L.I.R.R...

, and in 1971, added a vacation house in Saltaire
Saltaire, New York
Saltaire is a village on Fire Island in the southern part of the town of Islip in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The year-round population was 43 at the 2000 census, which, as a summer beach community, increases many times over in the summer.- History :Incorporated in 1910.In early 2009...

 on Fire Island
Fire Island, New York
Fire Island is one of the outer barrier islands adjacent to the south shore of Long Island, New York. It is approximately long and varies between broad. Fire Island is part of Suffolk County. It comprises a number of hamlets, census-designated places , and villages, all of which lie within the...

. They would buy a condominium in Saint Croix
Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Saint Croix is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands , an unincorporated territory of the United States. Formerly the Danish West Indies, they were sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of...

 in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1983.

While raising the children, Ferraro worked part-time as a civil lawyer
Private law
Private law is that part of a civil law legal system which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as the law of contracts or torts, as it is called in the common law, and the law of obligations as it is called in civilian legal systems...

 in her husband's real estate firm
Real estate broker
A real estate broker, real estate agent or realtor is a party who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate/real property and attempts to find sellers who wish to sell and buyers who wish to buy...

 for 13 years. She also occasionally worked for other clients and did some pro bono
Pro bono
Pro bono publico is a Latin phrase generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms...

work for women in family court
Family court
A family court is a court convened to decide matters and make orders in relation to family law, such as custody of children. In common-law jurisdictions "family courts" are statutory creations primarily dealing with equitable matters devolved from a court of inherent jurisdiction, such as a...

. She spent time at local Democratic clubs, which allowed her to maintain contacts within the legal profession and become involved in local politics and campaigns. While organizing community opposition to a proposed building, Ferraro met lawyer and Democratic figure Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo served as the 52nd Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, and is the father of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York.-Early life:...

, who became a political mentor. In 1970, she was elected president of the Queens County Women's Bar Association.

Ferraro's first full-time political job came in , when she was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Queens County, New York, by her cousin, District Attorney Nicholas Ferraro. At the time, women prosecutors in the city were uncommon. Grumblings that she was the beneficiary of nepotism
Nepotism
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis , from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, "nephew" or "grandchild" are also descended....

 were countered by her being rated as qualified by a screening committee and by her early job performance in the Investigations Bureau. The following year, Ferraro was assigned to the new Special Victims Bureau, which prosecuted cases involving rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, child abuse
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

, spouse abuse, and domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

. She was named head of the unit in 1977, with two other assistant district attorneys assigned to her. In this role, she became a strong advocate for abused children. She was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar
Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution of the United States, implemented in 1789.This article is concerned with the process and procedures used by the modern court...

 in 1978.

As part of the D.A. office, Ferraro worked long hours, and gained a reputation for being a tough prosecutor but fair in plea negotiations
Plea bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.A plea bargain allows criminal defendants to...

. Although her unit was supposed to turn cases over for court handling, she conducted some trials herself, and juries were persuaded by the summations she gave. Ferraro was upset to discover that her superior was paying her less than equivalent male colleagues because she was a married woman and already had a husband. Moreover, Ferraro found the nature of the cases she dealt with debilitating; the work left her "drained and angry" and she developed an ulcer
Peptic ulcer
A peptic ulcer, also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease, is the most common ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. It is defined as mucosal erosions equal to or greater than 0.5 cm...

. She grew frustrated that she was unable to deal with root causes, and talked about running for legislative office; Cuomo, now Secretary of State of New York
Secretary of State of New York
The Secretary of State of New York is a cabinet officer in the government of the U.S. state of New York.The current Secretary of State of New York is Cesar A...

, suggested the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

.

House of Representatives


Ferraro ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 9th Congressional District
New York's 9th congressional district
New York's 9th Congressional District is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in New York City. It includes parts of southern Brooklyn and south central Queens...

 in Queens in 1978, after longtime Democratic incumbent James Delaney
James Delaney
James Joseph Delaney was a Representative from New York.Delaney was born in New York City March 19, 1901; attended the public schools in Long Island City, Queens. He graduated from the law department of St. John’s College, Brooklyn, N.Y...

 announced his retirement. The location for the television series All in the Family
All in the Family
All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended...

, the district was known for its ethnic composition and conservative views. In a three-candidate primary race for the Democratic nomination, Ferraro faced two better-known rivals, including the party organization candidate, City Councilman
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

 Thomas J. Manton
Thomas J. Manton
Thomas J. Manton was a Democratic congressman. He represented the 7th Congressional District of New York.-Life and career:...

. Her main issues were law and order, support for the elderly, and neighborhood preservation. She labeled herself a "'small c' conservative" and emphasized that she was not a bleeding-heart liberal; her campaign slogan was "Finally, A Tough Democrat". Her Italian heritage also appealed to ethnic residents in the district. She won the three-way primary with 53 percent of the vote, and then captured the general election as well, defeating Republican Alfred A. DelliBovi
Alfred A. DelliBovi
Alfred A. DelliBovi is an American banker and political figure who has been President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York since 1992.-Biography:...

 by a 10-percentage-point margin in a contest in which dealing with crime was the major issue and personal attacks by DelliBovi were frequent. She had been aided by $130,000 in campaign loans and donations from her own family, including $110,000 in loans from Zaccaro, of which only $4,000 was legal. The source and nature of these transactions were declared illegal by the Federal Election Commission
Federal Election Commission
The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in 1975 by the United States Congress to regulate the campaign finance legislation in the United States. It was created in a provision of the 1975 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act...

 shortly before the primary, causing Ferraro to pay back the loans in , via several real estate transactions. In 1979, the campaign and Zaccaro paid $750 in fines for civil violations of election law.


Despite being a newcomer to the House, Ferraro made a vivid impression upon arrival and quickly found prominence. She became a protégé of House Speaker
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 Tip O'Neil, established a rapport with other House Democratic leaders, and rose rapidly in the party hierarchy. She was elected to be the Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman of the United States House of Representatives
The Vice-Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the United States House of Representatives is a leadership position that ranks just below the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In addition to other duties, the Vice-Chair has a seat on the Steering and Policy Committee.The office of Secretary of the...

 for 1981–1983 and again for 1983–1985; this entitled her to a seat on the influential Steering and Policy Committee. In 1983, she was named to the powerful House Budget Committee. She also served on the Public Works and Transportation Committee
United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. John Mica currently chairs the committee.-History:...

 and the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, both of which allowed Ferraro to push through projects to benefit her district. Male colleagues viewed her with respect as someone who was tough and ambitious.

Ferraro was active in Democratic presidential politics as well. She served as one of the deputy chairs for the 1980 Carter-Mondale campaign
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

. Following the election, she served actively on the Hunt Commission
Jim Hunt
James Baxter Hunt Jr. is an American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of the state of North Carolina . He is the longest-serving governor in the state's history.-Early life:...

 that in 1982, rewrote the Democratic delegate selection rules; Ferraro was credited as having been the prime agent behind the creation of superdelegates. By 1983, she was regarded as one of the up-and-coming stars of the party. She was the Chairwoman of the Platform Committee for the 1984 Democratic National Convention
1984 Democratic National Convention
The 1984 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California from July 16 to July 19, 1984, to select a candidate for the 1984 United States presidential election. At the convention Walter Mondale was nominated for President and Geraldine...

, the first woman to hold that position. There she held multiple hearings around the country and further gained in visibility.

While in Congress, Ferraro focused much of her legislative attention on equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. She was a cosponsor of the 1981 Economic Equity Act. On the House Select Committee on Aging, she concentrated on the problems of elderly women. In 1984, she championed a pension equity law revision that would improve the benefits of people who left work for long periods and then returned, a typical case for women with families. The Reagan administration, at first lukewarm to the measure, decided to sign it to gain the benefits of its popular appeal.


Ferraro also worked on some environmental issues. During 1980, she tried to prevent the federal government from gaining the power to override local laws on hazardous materials transportation, an effort she continued in subsequent years. In , she led passage of a Superfund
Superfund
Superfund is the common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 , a United States federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances...

 renewal bill and attacked the Reagan administration's handling of environmental site cleanups.

Ferraro took a congressional trip to Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 at the start of 1984, where she spoke to the Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

. She decided that the Reagan Administration's military interventions there and in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 were counterproductive towards reaching U.S. security goals, and that regional negotiations would be better.

In all, Ferraro served three two-year terms, being re-elected in 1980 and 1982. Her vote shares increased to 58 percent and then 73 percent and much of her funding came from political action committees. While Ferraro's pro-choice
Pro-choice
Support for the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-choice movement, a sociopolitical movement supporting the ethical view that a woman should have the legal right to elective abortion, meaning the right to terminate her pregnancy....

 views conflicted with those of many of her constituents as well as the Catholic Church to which she belonged, her positions on other social and foreign policy issues were in alignment with the district. She broke with her party in favoring an anti-busing amendment to the Constitution. She supported deployment of the Pershing II missile and the Trident submarine
Ohio class submarine
The Ohio class is a class of nuclear-powered submarines used by the United States Navy. The United States has 18 Ohio-class submarines:...

, although she opposed funding for the MX missile, the B-1B bomber, and the Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

.

While in the House, Ferraro's political self-description evolved to "moderate". In 1982, she said her experiences as assistant district attorney had changed some of her views: "... because no matter how concerned I am about spending, I have seen first hand what poverty can do to people's lives and I just can't, in good conscience, not do something about it." For her six years in Congress, Ferraro had an average 78 percent "Liberal Quotient" from Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action is an American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research and supporting progressive candidates.-History:...

 and an average 8 percent rating from the American Conservative Union
American Conservative Union
The American Conservative Union is an American political organization advocating conservative policies, and is the oldest such conservative lobbying organization in the country.-Organization:...

. The AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL–CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 56 national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers...

's Committee on Political Education gave her an average approval rating of 91 percent.

1984 Vice-Presidential candidacy



As the 1984 U.S. presidential election primary season neared its end and Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

 became the likely Democratic nominee, the idea of picking a woman as his vice-presidential running mate gained considerable momentum. The National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women
The National Organization for Women is the largest feminist organization in the United States. It was founded in 1966 and has a membership of 500,000 contributing members. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S...

 and the National Women's Political Caucus
National Women's Political Caucus
The National Women's Political Caucus is a national bipartisan grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting women who seek elected and appointed offices....

 pushed the notion, as did several top Democratic figures such as Speaker
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 Tip O'Neill
Tip O'Neill
Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. was an American politician. O'Neill was an outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the U.S. Congress, serving in the House of Representatives for 34 years and representing two congressional districts in Massachusetts...

. Women mentioned for the role included Ferraro and Mayor of San Francisco
Mayor of San Francisco
The Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco is the head of the executive branch of San Francisco's city and county government. The mayor has the duty to enforce city laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch....

 Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein is the senior U.S. Senator from California. A member of the Democratic Party, she has served in the Senate since 1992. She also served as 38th Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988....

, both of whom were on Mondale's five-person short list
Short list
A short list or shortlist is a list of candidates for a job, prize, award, political position, etc., that has been reduced from a longer list of candidates . The length of short lists varies according to the context.-U.S...

.

Mondale selected Ferraro to be his Vice-Presidential candidate on , 1984. She stated, "I am absolutely thrilled." The Mondale campaign hoped that her selection would change a campaign in which he was well behind; in addition to attracting women, they hoped she could attract ethnic Democrats in the Northeast U.S. who had abandoned their party for Reagan in 1980. In turn, Mondale accepted the risk that came with her inexperience.

As Ferraro was the first woman to run on a major party
Major party
A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:...

 national ticket in the U.S., and the first Italian American, her nomination at the 1984 Democratic National Convention
1984 Democratic National Convention
The 1984 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California from July 16 to July 19, 1984, to select a candidate for the 1984 United States presidential election. At the convention Walter Mondale was nominated for President and Geraldine...

 was one of the most emotional moments of that gathering, with female delegates appearing joyous and proud at the historic occasion. In her acceptance speech, Ferraro said, "The daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice president in the new land my father came to love." Convention attendees were in tears during the speech, not just for its significance for women but for all those who had immigrated to America.

Ferraro gained immediate, large-scale media attention. At first, journalists focused on her novelty as a woman and her poor family background, and their coverage was overwhelmingly favorable. Nevertheless, Ferraro faced many press questions about her foreign policy inexperience, and responded by discussing her attention to foreign and national security issues in Congress. She faced a threshold of proving competence that other high-level female political figures have had to face, especially those who might become commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

; the question "Are you tough enough?" was often directed to her. Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

 questioned her closely about nuclear strategy
Nuclear strategy
Nuclear strategy involves the development of doctrines and strategies for the production and use of nuclear weapons.As a sub-branch of military strategy, nuclear strategy attempts to match nuclear weapons as means to political ends...

 and during Meet the Press
Meet the Press
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. It has been...

she was asked, "Do you think that in any way the Soviets might be tempted to try to take advantage of you simply because you are a woman?"

The choice of Ferraro was viewed as a gamble, and pundits were uncertain whether it would result in a net gain or loss of votes for the Mondale campaign. While her choice was popular among Democratic activists, polls immediately after the announcement showed that only 22 percent of women were excited about Ferraro's selection, versus 18 percent who agreed that it was a "bad idea". By a three-to-one margin, voters thought that pressure from women's groups had led to Mondale's decision rather than his having chosen the best available candidate. Nonetheless, in the days after the convention Ferraro proved an effective campaigner, with a brash and confident style that forcefully criticized the Reagan administration and sometimes almost overshadowed Mondale. Mondale had been 16 points behind Reagan in polls before the pick, and after the convention he pulled even for a short time.

By the last week of July, however, questions—due initially to reporting by The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

—began about Ferraro's finances, the finances of her husband, John Zaccaro
John Zaccaro
John Anthony Zaccaro is a real estate developer and owner of P. Zaccaro & Company, which was founded by his father Philip Zaccaro in 1935. The company acts as a landlord for properties in the Little Italy, Chinatown, and East Side areas of Manhattan and in Queens. He is the widower of the late...

, and their separately filed tax returns. (While the Mondale campaign had anticipated some questions, it had only spent 48 hours on vetting Ferraro's family's finances.) This was also the first time the American media had to deal with a national candidate's husband. Ferraro said she would release both their returns within a month, but maintained she was correct not to have included her husband's financial holdings on her past annual Congressional disclosure statements. The media also reported on the FEC's past investigation into Ferraro's 1978 campaign funds. Although Ferraro and Zaccaro's finances were often interwoven on paper, with each half partners in Zaccaro's company, Ferraro had little knowledge of his business, or even how much he was worth. Zaccaro did not understand the greater public exposure that his wife's new position brought to their family, and resisted releasing his financial information. On , Ferraro announced that her husband would not in fact be releasing his tax returns, on the grounds that to do so would disadvantage his real estate business and that such a disclosure was voluntary and not part of election law. She joked, "You people who are married to Italian men, you know what it's like", angering fellow Italian Americans.

The announcement dominated television and newspapers; Ferraro was besieged by questions regarding the finances as well as criticism for ethnic stereotyping. As she later wrote, "I had created a monster." Republicans saw her finances as a "genderless" issue that they could attack Ferraro with without creating a backlash, and some Mondale staffers thought Ferraro might have to leave the ticket. The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer is a morning daily newspaper that serves the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area of the United States. The newspaper was founded by John R. Walker and John Norvell in June 1829 as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the...

went even further in its investigations, seeking to link Zaccaro to organized crime figures, but most publishers avoided this topic and law enforcement officials did not treat the allegations with much seriousness. A week after her previous statement, Ferraro said Zaccaro had changed his mind and would indeed release his tax records, which was done on . The full statements included notice of payment of some $53,000 in back federal taxes that she owed due to what was described as an accountant's error. Ferraro said the statements proved overall that she had nothing to hide and that there had been no financial wrongdoing. The disclosures indicated that Ferraro and her husband were worth nearly $4 million, had a full-time maid, and owned a boat and the two vacation homes. Much of their wealth was tied up in real estate rather than being disposable income, but the disclosures hurt Ferraro's image as a rags-to-riches story.

Ferraro's strong performance at an press conference covering the final disclosure—where she answered all questions for two hours—effectively ended the issue for the remainder of the campaign, but significant damage had been done. No campaign issue during the entire 1984 presidential campaign received more media attention than Ferraro's finances. The exposure diminished Ferraro's rising stardom, removed whatever momentum the Mondale–Ferraro ticket gained out of the convention, and delayed formation of a coherent message for the fall campaign.

Ferraro was criticized by name by Cardinal John O'Connor, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, and James Timlin
James Clifford Timlin
James Clifford Timlin is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Scranton from 1984 to 2003.-Biography:...

, the Bishop of Scranton
Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton, of which St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is the mother church, consists of 11 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, United States....

, for misrepresenting the Catholic Church's position on abortion
Catholicism and abortion
The Roman Catholic Church opposes all forms of abortion procedures whose direct purpose is to destroy an embryo, blastocyst, zygote or fetus, since it holds that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception...

. Ferraro wrote in a 1982 briefing for Congress that, "the Catholic position on abortion is not monolithic and there can be a range of personal and political responses to the issue." Sharp criticism from Church authorities put Ferraro on the defensive during the entire campaign, with abortion opponents frequently protesting her appearances with a level of fervor not usually encountered by pro-choice Catholic male candidates such as Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo served as the 52nd Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, and is the father of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York.-Early life:...

 and Ted Kennedy. Nevertheless, Ferraro resumed her role as a strong campaigner, taking on the traditional running mate role of attacking the opposition vigorously; she was criticized for saying that Reagan was not a "good Christian" because, Ferraro said, his policies hurt the poor. To defend Ferraro, the pro-choice group Catholics for a Free Choice
Catholics for a Free Choice
Catholics for Choice , formerly Catholics for a Free Choice , is a Catholic pro-choice organization based in Washington, D.C. that was founded "to serve as a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman's moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of...

 placed an October 7, 1984, full-page ad in The New York Times titled "A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion
A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion
A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion, alternatively referred to by its pull quote "A Diversity of Opinions Regarding Abortion Exists Among Committed Catholics" or simply "The New York Times ad", was a full-page advertisement placed on October 7, 1984 in The New York Times by Catholics for...

".

Ferraro drew large crowds on the campaign trail, many of whom wished to see the history making candidate in person, who often chanted, "Ger-ry! Ger-ry!" Mondale and Ferraro rarely touched during their appearances together, to the point that he would not even place his palm on her back when they stood side-by-side; Ferraro later said this was because anything more and "people were afraid that it would look like, 'Oh, my God, they're dating.'".

There was one vice-presidential debate
1984 Vice Presidential Debate
As part of the 1984 United States presidential election,on October 11, 1984, the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President of the United States, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, and the Republican Party nominee, incumbent Vice President George H.W. Bush, participated in a televised campaign debate...

 between Congresswoman Ferraro and Vice President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

. Held on , the result was proclaimed mostly even by the press and historians; women voters tended to think Ferraro had won, while men, Bush. At it, Ferraro criticized Reagan's initial refusal to support an extension to the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

. Her experience was questioned at the debate and she was asked how her three terms in Congress stacked up with Bush's experience. To one Bush statement she said, "Let me just say first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy." She strongly defended her position on abortion, which earned her applause and a respectful reply from her opponent. In the days leading up to the debate, Second Lady of the United States
Second Lady of the United States
Second lady of the United States is an informal title for the wife of the vice president of the United States, coined in contrast to the first lady ....

 Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush...

 had publicly referred to Ferraro as "that four-million-dollar—I can't say it, but it rhymes with 'rich'." Barbara Bush soon apologized. Ferraro's womanhood was consistently discussed during the campaign; one study found that a quarter of newspaper articles written about her contained gendered language.

On October 18 the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

accurately reported that her father had been arrested for possession of numbers slips
Numbers game
Numbers game, also known as a numbers racket, policy racket or Italian lottery, is an illegal lottery played mostly in poor neighborhoods in the United States, wherein a bettor attempts to pick three digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day...

 in Newburgh shortly before his death, and inaccurately speculated that something mysterious had been covered up about that death. Ferraro's mother had never told her about his arrest; she had been also arrested as an accomplice but released after her husband's death. The printing of the story led Ferraro to state that Post publisher Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG is an Australian-American business magnate. He is the founder and Chairman and CEO of , the world's second-largest media conglomerate....

 "does not have the worth to wipe the dirt under [my mother's] shoes." Ferraro continued to campaign, by the end traveling more than Mondale and more than Reagan and Bush combined.

On November 6, Mondale and Ferraro lost the general election in a landslide
Landslide victory
In politics, a landslide victory is the victory of a candidate or political party by an overwhelming margin in an election...

. They received only 41 percent of the popular vote compared to Reagan and Bush's 59 percent, and in the Electoral College won only Mondale's home state of Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 and the District of Columbia. Ferraro failed to carry her own congressional district, which always tended to vote Republican in presidential races. Ferraro's presence on the ticket had little measurable effect overall. Reagan captured 55 percent of women voters and about the same share of Catholic voters, the latter being the highest level yet for a Republican presidential candidate. Of the tenth of voters who decided based on the vice-presidential candidates, 54 percent went to Mondale–Ferraro, establishing that Ferraro provided a net gain to the Democrats of 0.8 percent. Reagan's personal appeal and campaign themes of prosperity and "It's morning again in America" were quite strong, and political observers generally agree that no combination of Democrats could have won the election in 1984. Mondale himself would later reflect that "I knew that I was in for it with Reagan" and that he had no regrets about choosing Ferraro.

After the election, the House Ethics Committee found that Ferraro had technically violated the Ethics in Government Act
Ethics in Government Act
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 is a United States federal law that was passed in the wake of the Nixon Watergate scandal and the Saturday Night Massacre. It created mandatory, public disclosure of financial and employment history of public officials and their immediate family...

 by failing to report, or reporting incorrectly, details of her family's finances, and that she should have reported her husband's holdings on her Congressional disclosure forms. However, the committee concluded that she had acted without "deceptive intent", and since she was leaving Congress anyway, no action against her was taken. Ferraro said, "I consider myself completely vindicated." The scrutiny of her husband and his business dealings presaged a trend that women candidates would face in American electoral politics.

Ferraro is one of only two U.S. women to run on a major party national ticket. The other is Alaska governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

, whose ticket also lost.

First Senate run and ambassadorship


Ferraro had relinquished her House seat to run for the vice-presidency. Her new-found fame led to an appearance in a Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi is a no-calorie carbonated cola soft drink produced by PepsiCo, introduced in 1964 as a variant of Pepsi-Cola with no sugar. First test marketed in 1963 under the name Patio Diet Cola, it was re-branded as Diet Pepsi the following year, becoming the first diet cola to be distributed on a...

 commercial in 1985. She published Ferraro: My Story, an account of the campaign with some of her life leading up to it, in . It was a best seller and earned her $1 million. She also earned over $300,000 by giving speeches. She founded the Americans Concerned for Tomorrow political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

, which focused on getting ten women candidates elected in the 1986 Congressional elections (eight of whom would be successful). Despite the one-sided national loss in 1984, Ferraro was still viewed as someone with a bright political future. Many expected her to run in the 1986 United States Senate election in New York
United States Senate election in New York, 1986
The 1986 United States Senate election in New York took place on November 3, 1986 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican U.S...

 against first-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato
Al D'Amato
Alfonse Marcello "Al" D'Amato is an American lawyer and former New York politician. A Republican, he served as United States Senator from New York from 1981 to 1999.-Early life and family:...

, and during 1985 she did Upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 groundwork towards that end. A senate candidacy had been her original plan for her career, before she was named to Mondale's ticket. But in , she said she would not run, due to an ongoing U.S. Justice Department probe on her and her husband's finances stemming from the 1984 campaign revelations.

Members of Ferraro's family were indeed facing legal issues. Her husband John Zaccaro
John Zaccaro
John Anthony Zaccaro is a real estate developer and owner of P. Zaccaro & Company, which was founded by his father Philip Zaccaro in 1935. The company acts as a landlord for properties in the Little Italy, Chinatown, and East Side areas of Manhattan and in Queens. He is the widower of the late...

 had pleaded guilty in , to fraudulently obtaining bank financing in a real estate transaction and had been sentenced to 150 hours of community service. Then in , he was indicted on unrelated felony charges regarding an alleged 1981 bribery of Queens Borough President Donald Manes
Donald Manes
Donald R. Manes was a controversial Democratic Party politician from New York City. He served as borough president of the New York City borough of Queens from 1971 until just before his suicide in 1986.-Career:...

 concerning a cable television contract. A full year later, he was acquitted at trial. The case against him was circumstantial, a key prosecution witness proved unreliable, and the defense did not have to present its own testimony. Ferraro said her husband never would have been charged had she not run for vice president. Meanwhile, in , the couple's son John had been arrested for possession and sale of cocaine. He was convicted, and in , sentenced to four months imprisonment; Ferraro broke down in tears in court relating the stress the episode had placed on her family. Ferraro worked on an unpublished book about the conflicting rights between a free press and being able to have fair trials. Asked in , whether she would have accepted the vice-presidential nomination had she known of all the family problems that would follow, she said, "More than once I have sat down and said to myself, oh, God, I wish I had never gone through with it ... I think the candidacy opened a door for women in national politics, and I don't regret that for one minute. I'm proud of that. But I just wish it could have been done in a different way."

Ferraro remained active in raising money for Democratic candidates nationwide, especially women candidates. During the 1988 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1988
The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

, Ferraro served as vice chair of the party's Victory Fund. She also did some commentating for television. Ferraro was a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics
Harvard Institute of Politics
Harvard Institute of Politics was created to serve as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy and inspire Harvard students into careers in politics and public service, much as President Kennedy was inspired during his days as a student at Harvard. The IOP also brings together the academic...

 from 1988 to 1992, teaching in-demand seminars such as "So You Want to be President?" She also took care of her mother, who suffered from emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 for several years before her death in early 1990.

By October 1991, Ferraro was ready to enter elective politics again, and ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1992 United States Senate election in New York
United States Senate election in New York, 1992
The 1992 United States Senate election in New York took place on November 3, 1992 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican U.S...

. Her opponents were State Attorney General Robert Abrams
Robert Abrams
Robert Abrams is an American lawyer and politician.-Life and career:He graduated from Columbia College and the New York University School of Law. He is considered a member of the reform wing of the Democratic Party.Abrams was a member of the New York State Assembly representing the Bronx from 1966...

, Reverend Al Sharpton
Al Sharpton
Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. is an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election...

, Congressman Robert J. Mrazek
Robert J. Mrazek
Robert Jan Mrazek was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 3rd congressional district on Long Island for most of the 1980s...

, and New York City Comptroller and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman
Elizabeth Holtzman
Elizabeth Holtzman is an American lawyer and former Democratic politician, pioneer woman officeholder, four term U.S. Representative , two term District Attorney of Kings County , and New York City Comptroller .Her role on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal drew national...

. Abrams was considered the early front-runner. The D'Amato campaign feared facing Ferraro the most among these, as her Italian ancestry, effective debating and stump speech skills, and her staunch pro-choice views would eat into several of D'Amato's usual bases of support. Ferraro emphasized her career as a teacher, prosecutor, congresswoman, and mother, and talked about how she was tough on crime. Ferraro drew renewed attacks during the primary campaign from the media and her opponents over Zaccaro's finances and business relationships. She objected that a male candidate would not receive nearly as much attention regarding his wife's activities. Ferraro became the front-runner, capitalizing on her star power from 1984, and using the campaign attacks against her as an explicitly feminist rallying point for women voters. As the primary date neared, her lead began to dwindle under the charges, and she released additional tax returns from the 1980s to try to defray the attacks. Holtzman ran a negative ad accusing Ferraro and Zaccaro of taking more than $300,000 in rent in the 1980s from a pornographer with purported ties to organized crime. The final debates were nasty, and Holtzman in particular constantly attacked Ferraro's integrity and finances. In an unusual election-eve television broadcast, Ferraro talked about "the ethnic slur that I am somehow or other connected to organized crime. There's lots of innuendo but no proof. However, it is made plausible because of the fact that I am an Italian-American. This tactic comes from the poisoned well of fear and stereotype ..." On the , 1992, primary, Abrams edged out Ferraro by less than a percentage point, winning 37 percent of the vote to 36 percent. Ferraro did not concede she had lost for two weeks.

Abrams spent much of the remainder of the campaign trying to get Ferraro's endorsement. Ferraro, enraged and bitter after the nature of the primary, ignored Abrams and accepted Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

's request to campaign for his presidential bid
Bill Clinton presidential campaign, 1992
Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign for President of the United States was a critical turning point for the Democratic Party, which had controlled the White House for only four of the previous twenty-four years. Initially viewed as an unlikely prospect to win his party's nomination, Clinton did so and...

 instead. She was eventually persuaded by state party leaders into giving an unenthusiastic endorsement with just three days to go before the general election, in exchange for an apology by Abrams for the tone of the primary. D'Amato won the election by a very narrow margin. The Ferraro-Holtzman fighting of the campaign was viewed as a disaster by many feminists, but overall the 1992 U.S. Senate elections
United States Senate elections, 1992
The 1992 United States Senate election was an election for the United States Senate in which the victory of Bill Clinton in the presidential election was not accompanied by major Democratic gains in the Senate....

 saw so many victories that it became known as the "Year of the Woman
Year of the Woman
The Year of the Woman was a popular label attached to 1992 after the election of a number of female Senators in the United States.The hotly contested Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas involving the allegations of Anita Hill raised the question of the dominance...

".

Following the primary loss, Ferraro became a managing partner in the New York office of Keck, Mahin & Cate
Keck, Mahin & Cate
Keck, Mahin & Cate was a law firm based in Chicago, Illinois that was founded in 1886 and stopped operations in 1997.The firm worked in general practice, banking and bankruptcy law, corporate finances, mergers and acquisitions, and the like. By 1985, it employed 95 lawyers.The firm had branches in...

, a Chicago-based law firm. There she organized the office and spoke with clients, but did not actively practice law and left before the firm fell into difficulties. Ferraro's second book, a collection of her speeches, was titled Changing History: Women, Power and Politics and was published in 1993.

President Clinton appointed Ferraro as a member of the United States delegation to United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

 in . She attended the World Conference on Human Rights
World Conference on Human Rights
The World Conference on Human Rights was held by the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, on 14 to 25 June 1993. It was the first human rights conference held since the end of the Cold War...

 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 as the alternate U.S. delegate. Then in , Clinton promoted her to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, saying that Ferraro had been "a highly effective voice for the human rights of women around the world." The Clinton administration named Ferraro vice-chair of the U.S. delegation to the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women
Fourth World Conference on Women
The United Nations convened the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace on 4-15 September 1995 in Beijing, China. 189 governments and more than 5,000 representatives from 2,100 non-governmental organizations participated in the Conference...

 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

; in this role she picked a strong team of experts in human rights issues to serve with her. During her stint on the commission, it for the first time condemned anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 as a human rights violation, and also for the first time prevented China from blocking a motion criticizing its human rights record
Human rights in the People's Republic of China
Human rights in the People's Republic of China are a matter of dispute between the Chinese government, other countries, international NGOs, and dissidents inside the country. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese...

. Regarding a previous China motion that had failed, Ferraro had told the commission, "Let us do what we were sent here to do—decide important questions of human rights on their merits, not avoid them." Ferraro held the U.N. position into 1996.

Commentator and second Senate run


In February 1996, Ferraro joined the high-visibility CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 political talk show Crossfire
Crossfire (TV series)
Crossfire was a current events debate television program that aired from 1982 to 2005 on CNN. Its format was designed to present and challenge the opinions of a politically liberal pundit and a conservative pundit.-Format:...

, as the co-host representing the "from the left" vantage. She kept her brassy, rapid-fire speech and New York accent intact, and her trial experience from her prosecutor days was a good fit for the program's format. She sparred effectively with "from the right" co-host Pat Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Patrick Joseph "Pat" Buchanan is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior adviser to American Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire. He sought...

, for whom she developed a personal liking. The show stayed strong in ratings for CNN, and the job was lucrative. She welcomed how the role "keeps me visible [and] keeps me extremely well informed on the issues."

At the start of 1998, Ferraro left Crossfire and ran for the Democratic nomination again in the 1998 United States Senate election in New York
United States Senate election in New York, 1998
The 1998 United States Senate election in New York took place on November 3, 1998 along with elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican U.S...

. The other candidates were Congressman Charles Schumer
Charles Schumer
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a...

 and New York City Public Advocate Mark J. Green
Mark J. Green
Mark J. Green is an author, public interest lawyer and a Democratic politician who lives in New York City. He worked with Ralph Nader from 1970-1980, eventually as director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, and is also the former president of Air America Radio .He was New York City Consumer...

. She had done no fundraising, out of fear of conflict of interest with her Crossfire job, but was nonetheless immediately perceived as the front-runner. Indeed, December and January polls had her 25 percentage points ahead of Green in the race and even further ahead of Schumer. Unlike the previous campaigns, her family finances never became an issue. However, she lost ground during the summer, with Schumer catching up in the polls by early August and then soon passing her. Schumer, a tireless fundraiser, outspent her by a five-to-one margin, and Ferraro failed to establish a political image current with the times. In the , 1998 primary, she was beaten soundly by Schumer by a 51 percent to 26 percent margin. Unlike 1992, the contest was not divisive, and Ferraro and third-place finisher Green endorsed Schumer at a unity breakfast the following day. Schumer would go on to decisively unseat D'Amato in the general election.

The 1998 primary defeat brought an end to Ferraro's political career. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

wrote at the time: "If Ms. Ferraro's rise was meteoric, her political career's denouement was protracted, often agonizing and, at first glance, baffling." She still retained admirers, though. Anita Perez Ferguson
Anita Perez Ferguson
Anita Perez Ferguson, born in 1949 in Santa Barbara, California, is a speaker, author and international consultant.She has a BA in Communications from Westmont College , an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Santa Clara, and an MA in Management from the University of...

, president of the National Women's Political Caucus
National Women's Political Caucus
The National Women's Political Caucus is a national bipartisan grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting women who seek elected and appointed offices....

, noted that female New York political figures in the past had been reluctant to enter the state's notoriously fierce primary races, and said: "This woman has probably been more of an opinion maker than most people sitting for six terms straight in the House of Representatives or Senate. Her attempts, and even her losses, have accomplished far beyond what others have accomplished by winning."

Business career, illness and medical activism


In 1980, Ferraro co-founded the National Organization of Italian American Women
National Organization of Italian American Women
The National Organization of Italian American Women is an American sisterhood group founded in 1980 to represent Italian American women of varied professional and business backgrounds....

, which sought to support the educational and professional goals of its members and put forward positive role models in order to fight ethnic stereotyping, and was still a distinguished member of its board at the time of her death. Ferraro was connected with many other political and non-profit organizations. She was a board member of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs is an organization created by the United States government by way of the National Endowment for Democracy to channel grants for furthering democracy in developing nations. It was founded in 1983, shortly after the U.S. Congress created...

, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

. She became president of the newly established International Institute for Women's Political Leadership in 1989. In 1992, she was on the founding board of Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States...

. By 1993, she was serving on the Fordham Law School Board of Visitors, as well as on the boards of the National Breast Cancer Research Fund, the New York Easter Seal Society, and the Pension Rights Center, and was one of hundreds of public figures on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Board of Advocates. In 1999, she joined the board of the Bertarelli Foundation, and in 2003, the board of the National Women's Health Resource Center
National Women's Health Resource Center
HealthyWomen is an American non-profit organization which seeks to provide women with in-depth, medical-organization-sanctioned information on a wide range issues important to women's health and to increase awareness of those issues via education and advocacy. It was founded as the National Women's...

. During the 2000s she was on the board of advisors to the Committee to Free Lori Berenson
Lori Berenson
Lori Helene Berenson is an American convicted in Peru of unlawful collaboration with the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement , which the Peruvian government regarded as a terrorist organization, and which had committed numerous attacks in attempting to overthrow the government...

.

Framing a Life: A Family Memoir was published by Ferraro in . It depicts the life story of her mother and immigrant grandmother; it also portrays the rest of her family, and is a memoir of her early life, but includes relatively little about her political career.

Ferraro had felt unusually tired at the end of her second senate campaign. In , she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma , also known as plasma cell myeloma or Kahler's disease , is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally responsible for the production of antibodies...

, a form of bone cancer where plasma cells secrete abnormal antibodies known as Bence-Jones proteins, which can cause bones to disintegrate and dump toxic amounts of calcium into the bloodstream. She did not publicly disclose the illness until , when she went to Washington to successfully press in Congressional hearings for passage of the Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act
Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act
The Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act of 2001 amends the Public Health Service Act to allocate funding and establish directed research and education programs targeted at forms of blood cancer, in particular leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.The bill was introduced...

. A portion of the Act created the Geraldine Ferraro Cancer Education Program, which directs the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish an education program for patients of blood cancers and the general public. Ferraro became a frequent speaker on the disease, and an avid supporter and honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer, which afflicts over fifty thousand Americans alone...

.

Though initially given only three to five years to live, by virtue of several new drug therapies and a bone marrow transplant
Bone marrow transplant
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cell or blood, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cells, or umbilical cord blood...

 in 2005, she would beat the disease's Stage 1 survival mean of 62 months by over a factor of two. Her advocacy helped make the new treatments approved and available for others as well. For much of the last decade of her life, Ferraro was not in remission, but the disease was managed by continually adjusting her treatments.

Ferraro joined Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel , often called Fox News, is a cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation...

 as a regular political commentator in . By 2005, she was making sporadic appearances on the channel, which continued into 2007, and beyond. She partnered with Laura Ingraham
Laura Ingraham
Laura Anne Ingraham is an American radio host, author, and conservative political commentator. Her nationally syndicated talk show, The Laura Ingraham Show, airs throughout the United States on Talk Radio Network...

, starting in , in writing the alternate-weeks column "Campaign Countdown" on the 2000 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

 for The New York Times Syndicate. During the 2000s, Ferraro was an affiliated faculty member at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Georgetown Public Policy Institute is a leading public policy program affiliated with Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. GPPI offers master's degrees in public policy and policy management as well as administers several professional certificate programs and boasts five affiliated research...

.
In January 2000, Ferraro and Lynn Martin
Lynn Morley Martin
Lynn Morley Martin is a businesswoman and former United States politician.-Political career:Born in Evanston, Illinois, she served as a member of the Winnebago County Board before she served in the Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives, where she...

—a former Republican Congresswoman and U.S. Secretary of Labor who had played Ferraro in George H. W. Bush's debate preparations in 1984—co-founded, and served as co-presidents of, G&L Strategies, a management consulting firm underneath Weber McGinn. Its goal was to advise corporations on how to develop more women leaders and make their workplaces more amenable to female employees. G&L Strategies subsequently became part of Golin Harris International
Golin Harris International
GolinHarris is a holistic communications firm. It was established in 1956. GolinHarris is owned by Interpublic Group of Companies and has 34 wholly owned offices located in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East....

. In , Ferraro was made executive vice president and managing director of the public affairs practice of the Global Consulting Group, an international investor relations and corporate communications component of Huntsworth
Huntsworth
Huntsworth is a public limited company headquartered in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Huntsworth is an international public relations and integrated healthcare communications group operating from 70 principal offices in 32 countries...

. There she worked with corporations, non-profit organizations, state governments and political figures. She continued there as a senior advisor working about two days a month.

After living for many years in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens
Forest Hills Gardens, Queens
Forest Hills Gardens is a community located in Forest Hills, in the New York City borough of Queens. Its streets are privately owned but open to traffic. The Northern Border runs along the L.I.R.R...

, she and her husband moved to Manhattan in 2002. She republished Ferraro: My Story in 2004, with a postscript summarizing her life in the twenty years since the campaign.

Ferraro was a member of the board of directors of Goodrich Petroleum beginning in . She was also a board member for New York Bancorp in the 1990s.

Ferraro became a principal in the government relations practice of the Blank Rome
Blank Rome
Blank Rome LLP, formerly known as Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley, is a full-service international law and government affairs firm. It is ranked as the 84th largest law firm in the United States in terms of revenue, according to the AmLaw 100 Survey...

 law firm in , working both in New York and Washington about two days a week in their lobbying and communications activities. As she passed the age of 70, she was thankful for still being alive, and said "This is about as retired as I get, which is part time," and that if she fully retired, she would "go nuts".

2008 presidential campaign involvement


In December 2006, Ferraro announced her support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

. Later, she vowed to help defend Clinton from being "swiftboated"
Swiftboating
The word swiftboating is an American neologism used pejoratively to describe an unfair or untrue political attack. The term emanates from the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth and its widely publicized, then discredited, campaign against 2004 US Presidential candidate John Kerry.Since the political...

 in a manner akin to 2004 presidential candidate
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

 John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

. She assisted with fundraising by assuming an honorary post on the finance committee for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. A heated nomination battle emerged between Clinton and Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, in which racial dust-ups caused by perceptions of remarks made by campaign surrogates took place. Ferraro became livid when her daughter voted for Obama in a primary, which reflected a generational difference among American women in how they viewed the significance of a woman being elected president.

In March 2008 she gave an interview with the Daily Breeze
Daily Breeze
The Daily Breeze is a 70,000-circulation daily newspaper published in Torrance, California. It serves the South Bay cities of Los Angeles County. Its slogan is "LAX to LA Harbor".- Early history :...

in which she said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." Ferraro justified the statements by referring to her own run for vice president. Echoing a statement she wrote about herself in 1988, Ferraro said that "I was talking about historic candidacies and what I started off by saying (was that) if you go back to 1984 and look at my historic candidacy, which I had just talked about all these things, in 1984, if my name was Gerard Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would have never been chosen as a vice-presidential candidate. It had nothing to do with my qualification." Her comments resonated with some older white women, but generated an immediate backlash elsewhere. There was strong criticism and charges of racism from many supporters of Obama and Obama called them "patently absurd". Clinton publicly expressed disagreement with Ferraro's remarks, while Ferraro vehemently denied she was a racist. Again speaking to the Breeze, Ferraro responded to the attacks by saying: "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?" Ferraro resigned from Clinton's finance committee on , 2008, two days after the firestorm began, saying that she didn't want the Obama camp to use her comments to hurt Clinton's campaign.

Ferraro continued to engage the issue and criticize the Obama campaign via her position as a Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel , often called Fox News, is a cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation...

 contributor. By early April, Ferraro said people were deluging her with negative comments and trying to get her removed from one of the boards she was on: "This has been the worst three weeks of my life." Ferraro stated in mid- that Clinton had "raised this whole woman candidate thing to a whole different level than when I ran". She thought Obama had behaved in a sexist
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

 manner and that she might not vote for him.

During September 2008, Ferraro gained attention yet again after the announcement of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, the first such major party bid for a woman since her own in 1984. Palin mentioned Ferraro as well as Clinton as forerunners in her introductory appearance. In reaction to the nomination, Ferraro said, "It's great to be the first, but I don't want to be the only. And so now it is wonderful to see a woman on a national ticket." Ferraro speculated that the pick might win Republican presidential nominee John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 the election, but said that she was supporting Obama now due to his running mate selection of Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 having resolved her concerns about Obama's lack of experience in certain areas. Ferraro criticized the media's scrutiny of Palin's background and family as gender-based and saw parallels with how she was treated by the media during her own run; a University of Alabama
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States....

 study also found that media framing
Framing (social sciences)
A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences. They use these...

 of Ferraro and Palin was similar and often revolved around their nominations being political gambles. A Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

cover story detected a change in how women voters responded to a female vice presidential candidate from Ferraro's time to Palin's, but Ferraro correctly predicted that the bounce that McCain received from the Palin pick would dissipate. In a friendly joint retrospective of her 1984 debate with George H. W. Bush, Ferraro said she had had more national issues experience in 1984 than Palin did now, but that it was important that Palin make a good showing in her vice presidential debate
United States vice-presidential debate, 2008
The 2008 United States vice-presidential debate, took place on October 2, 2008, between U.S. vice-presidential candidates Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and Joe Biden, the senior Senator for Delaware, at Washington University in St. Louis, and was moderated by Public Broadcasting Service...

 so that "little girls [could] see someone there who can stand toe to toe with [Biden]." McCain and Palin ended up losing, but regardless of the 1984 or 2008 election result, Ferraro said that "Every time a woman runs, women win."

Final year, death and tributes


Ferraro continued to battle her cancer, making repeated visits to hospitals during her last year and undergoing difficult procedures. Much of her care took place at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana–Farber Cancer Institute is part of a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute. It is a major affiliate of Harvard Medical School and is located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts.-Overview:...

 in Boston, where she also acted as an informal advocate for other patients. She was able to make a joint appearance with Palin on Fox News Channel's coverage of the November 2010 midterm elections
United States elections, 2010
The 2010 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate were contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial...

.

In she went to Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital is a teaching hospital and biomedical research facility in the West End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts...

 to receive treatment for pain caused by a fracture, a common complication of multiple myeloma. Once there, however, doctors discovered she had come down with pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. Unable to return to her New York home, Ferraro died at Massachusetts General on , 2011. In addition to her husband and three children, who all were present, she was survived by eight grandchildren.

President Obama said upon her death that "Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life," and said that his own two daughters would grow up in a more equal country because of what Ferraro had done. Mondale called her "a remarkable woman and a dear human being ... She was a pioneer in our country for justice for women and a more open society. She broke a lot of molds and it's a better country for what she did." George H. W. Bush said, "Though we were one-time political opponents, I am happy to say Gerry and I became friends in time – a friendship marked by respect and affection. I admired Gerry in many ways, not the least of which was the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics." Palin paid tribute to her on Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

, expressing gratitude for having been able to work with her the year before and saying, "She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. May her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women." Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement that, "Gerry Ferraro was one of a kind – tough, brilliant, and never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believed in – a New York icon and a true American original."

A funeral Mass was held for her on March 31 at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
Church of St. Vincent Ferrer (New York)
The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer is a Roman Catholic parish in Manhattan, New York City. The 1918 church building, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 66th Street on the Upper East Side, has been called "one of New York's greatest architectural adornments"...

 in New York, the site where Ferraro and Zaccaro had been married and had renewed their vows on their 50th anniversary the year before. Figures from local, state, and national politics were present, and Mondale and both Clintons were among the speakers. She is buried in St. John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens
Middle Village, Queens
Middle Village is a neighborhood in central Queens, a borough of New York City. The neighborhood is located in the western central section of Queens, bounded to the north by Eliot Avenue, to the east by Woodhaven Boulevard, to the south by Cooper Avenue, and to the west by Fresh Pond Road...

, within her old congressional district.

Awards and honors


Ferraro was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame
National Women's Hall of Fame
The National Women's Hall of Fame is an American institution. It was created in 1969 by a group of people in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention...

 in 1994.

Ferraro received a number of honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

s during the 1980s and early 1990s, including from Marymount Manhattan College
Marymount Manhattan College
Marymount Manhattan College is an urban, coeducational, independent, private, liberal arts college located in Manhattan, New York City, New York with a focus in performing arts. The mission of the College is to educate a socially and economically diverse student body by fostering intellectual...

 (1982), New York University Law School (1984), Hunter College
Hunter College
Hunter College, established in 1870, is a public university and one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York, located on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Hunter grants undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees in more than one hundred fields of study, and is recognized...

 (1985), Plattsburgh College (1985), College of Boca Raton (1989), Virginia State University
Virginia State University
Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield, in the Richmond area. Founded on , Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans...

 (1989), Muhlenberg College
Muhlenberg College
Muhlenberg College is a private liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is named for Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America.- History...

 (1990), Briarcliffe College for Business
Briarcliffe College
Briarcliffe College consists of three for-profit career colleges in Long Island City, New York, Bethpage and Patchogue on Long Island, New York. They offer Associate's or Bachelor's degree programs in a variety of areas including Graphic Design, Criminal Justice, Business, Photography and...

 (1990), and Potsdam College (1991). She subsequently received an honorary degree from Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

 (2003).

During her time in Congress, Ferraro received numerous awards from local organizations in Queens.

In 2007, Ferraro received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sons of Italy Foundation. In 2008, Ferraro was the initial recipient of the annual Trailblazer Award from the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations.

Electoral history


Democratic primary for New York's 9th congressional district
New York's 9th congressional district
New York's 9th Congressional District is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in New York City. It includes parts of southern Brooklyn and south central Queens...

, 1978
  • Geraldine Ferraro – 10,254 (52.98%)
  • Thomas J. Manton
    Thomas J. Manton
    Thomas J. Manton was a Democratic congressman. He represented the 7th Congressional District of New York.-Life and career:...

     – 5,499 (28.41%)
  • Patrick C. Deignan – 3,603 (18.61%)


New York's 9th congressional district, 1978
  • Geraldine Ferraro (D) – 51,350 (54.17%)
  • Alfred A. DelliBovi
    Alfred A. DelliBovi
    Alfred A. DelliBovi is an American banker and political figure who has been President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York since 1992.-Biography:...

     (R, Conservative) – 42,108 (44.42%)
  • Theodore E. Garrison (Liberal
    Liberal Party of New York
    The Liberal Party of New York is a minor American political party that has been active only in the state of New York. Its platform supports a standard set of social liberal policies: it supports right to abortion, increased spending on education, and universal health care.As of 2007, the Liberal...

    ) – 1,329 (1.40%)


New York's 9th congressional district, 1980
  • Geraldine Ferraro (D) (Inc.) – 63,796 (58.34%)
  • Vito P. Battista (R, Conservative, Right to Life
    New York State Right to Life Party
    The New York State Right to Life Party was founded to oppose the legalization of abortion in New York in 1970. The party first made the state ballot in the 1978 gubernatorial election, where its candidate Mary Jane Tobin won 130,000 votes...

    ) – 44,473 (40.67%)
  • Gertrude Geniale (Liberal) – 1,091 (1.00%)


New York's 9th congressional district, 1982
  • Geraldine Ferraro (D) (Inc.) – 75,286 (73.22%)
  • John J. Weigandt (R) – 20,352 (19.79%)
  • Ralph G. Groves (Conservative) – 6,011 (5.85%)
  • Patricia A. Salargo (Liberal) – 1,171 (1.14%)


1984 Democratic National Convention
1984 Democratic National Convention
The 1984 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California from July 16 to July 19, 1984, to select a candidate for the 1984 United States presidential election. At the convention Walter Mondale was nominated for President and Geraldine...

 (Vice-Presidential tally)
  • Geraldine Ferraro – 3,920
  • Shirley Chisholm
    Shirley Chisholm
    Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress...

     – 3


United States presidential election, 1984
United States presidential election, 1984
The United States presidential election of 1984 was a contest between the incumbent President Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate. Reagan was helped by a strong economic recovery from the deep recession of 1981–1982...

  • Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

    /George H. W. Bush
    George H. W. Bush
    George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

     (R) (Inc.) – 54,166,829 (58.5%) and 525 electoral votes (49 states carried)
  • Walter Mondale
    Walter Mondale
    Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

    /Geraldine Ferraro (D) – 37,449,813 (40.4%) and 13 electoral votes (1 state and D.C. carried)
  • David Bergland
    David Bergland
    David Peter Bergland received the United States Libertarian Party's nomination for the 1984 presidential election. Bergland and his running mate Jim Lewis received 228,111 . He received the party's vice-presidential nomination in the 1976 presidential election, sharing the ticket with Roger...

    /Jim Lewis
    James A. Lewis
    James A. "Jim" Lewis was the Libertarian Party's Vice-Presidential candidate in the 1984 U.S. presidential election, sharing the party ticket with David Bergland...

     (L) – 227,204 (0.2%) and 0 electoral votes


Democratic primary for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, 1992
  • Robert Abrams
    Robert Abrams
    Robert Abrams is an American lawyer and politician.-Life and career:He graduated from Columbia College and the New York University School of Law. He is considered a member of the reform wing of the Democratic Party.Abrams was a member of the New York State Assembly representing the Bronx from 1966...

     – 426,904 (37%)
  • Geraldine Ferraro – 415,650 (36%)
  • Al Sharpton
    Al Sharpton
    Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. is an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election...

     – 166,665 (14%)
  • Elizabeth Holtzman
    Elizabeth Holtzman
    Elizabeth Holtzman is an American lawyer and former Democratic politician, pioneer woman officeholder, four term U.S. Representative , two term District Attorney of Kings County , and New York City Comptroller .Her role on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal drew national...

     – 144,026 (12%)


Democratic primary for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, 1998
  • Chuck Schumer – 388,701 (50.83%)
  • Geraldine Ferraro – 201,625 (26.37%)
  • Mark Green
    Mark J. Green
    Mark J. Green is an author, public interest lawyer and a Democratic politician who lives in New York City. He worked with Ralph Nader from 1970-1980, eventually as director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, and is also the former president of Air America Radio .He was New York City Consumer...

     – 145,819 (19.07%)
  • Eric Ruano-Melendez – 28,493 (3.73%)

External links