- NAME: Geraldine A. Ferraro
- OCCUPATION: Women's Rights Activist, Lawyer, Diplomat, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: August 26, 1935
- DEATH DATE: March 26, 2011
- EDUCATION: Marymount Manhattan College, Fordham University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Newburgh, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Boston, Massachusetts
- Full Name: Geraldine Anne Ferraro
- AKA: Geraldine A. Ferraro
- AKA: Geraldine Ferraro
Best Known For
Geraldine A. Ferraro was a member of Congress and the first woman to run for the U.S. vice presidency on a major party platform.
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In January 1984, Ferraro became the chair of the Democratic Party Platform Committee for its national convention.
Later that year, Ferraro was mentioned as a possible running mate for Walter Mondale, the 1984 Democratic presidential candidate. Mondale had served as vice president under President Jimmy Carter and was very cautious in making his selection. He eventually decided to pick Geraldine Ferraro, who became the first woman to receive the vice presidential nomination from either of the country's two major parties. Mondale and Ferraro made an interesting pair—he was a Midwesterner, and she was a Roman Catholic and a New Yorker.
On the campaign trail, Ferraro was a skilled public speaker, and she usually met with sizable crowds wherever she went. But both she and Mondale were in for a tough fight against the popular incumbents, President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush. Their cause was not helped when allegations of financial misconduct by Ferraro arose; there were questions about how her first congressional campaign was funded, and then more stories cropped up about her husband when he initially refused to disclose his tax returns. While all related documents were eventually released, the speculation about Ferraro and her husband somewhat tarnished her reputation.
As many had predicted, the Reagan-Bush ticket easily won re-election. Ferraro finished the remainder of her term in the House, leaving office in 1985. She wrote a campaign memoir soon after, Ferraro, My Story (1985).
In her later years, Ferraro remained active in politics. She served as an alternate delegate to the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 and was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission by President Bill Clinton in 1994. She also co-hosted CNN's political talk show Crossfire from 1996 to 1998. Working in the private sector, Ferraro served as a partner in the CEO Perspective Group and later chaired the Global Consulting Group's public affairs practice. In 2007, she became a principal with Blank Rome Government Relations LLC, counseling clients on various public policy issues.
In 2008, Ferraro found herself in the middle of a media frenzy. Working as a fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, Ferraro told the Torrance, California newspaper the Daily Breeze that the frontrunner status of Clinton's opponent, Senator Barack Obama, could be attributed to his race. During the interview, she stated, "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 later defended her comments on Good Morning America. Talking with journalist Diane Sawyer, she said that her comments had been taken out of context by the Daily Breeze and that she was "hurt, absolutely hurt, by how they have taken this thing and spun it to sort of imply in any way, in any way, I am a racist."
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