First female VP candidate Ferraro dies at 75

Geraldine Ferraro,the first woman to run for vice president on a major US party ticket died at 75.

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 00:26 AM IST

Boston: Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 became
the first woman to run for vice president on a major US party
ticket, only to lose in a landslide, died on Saturday. She was 75.

Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she
was being treated for blood cancer. She died just before 10 am
(1400 GMT), said Amanda Fuchs Miller, a family friend who
worked for Ferraro in her 1998 Senate bid and was acting as a
spokeswoman for the family.

An obscure Queens congresswoman, Ferraro catapulted to
national prominence at the 1984 Democratic convention when she
was chosen by presidential nominee Walter Mondale to join his
ticket against incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush.

Delegates in San Francisco erupted in cheers at the first
line of her speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination.
"My name is Geraldine Ferraro," she declared. "I stand
before you to proclaim tonight: America is the land where
dreams can come true for all of us."

Her acceptance speech launched eight minutes of cheers,
foot-stamping and tears.

Ferraro sometimes overshadowed former Vice President
Mondale on the campaign trail, often drawing larger crowds and
more media attention than the presidential candidate.

"No one asks anymore if women can raise the money, if
women can take the heat, if women have the stamina for the
toughest political campaigns in this country," Judy Goldsmith,
then-president of the National Organization for Women told
People Magazine in December 1984. "Geraldine Ferraro did them
all."

But controversy accompanied her acclaim. Frequent,
vociferous protests of her favorable view of abortion rights
marked the campaign.

Ferraro`s run also was beset by ethical questions, first
about her campaign finances and tax returns, then about the
business dealings of her husband, John Zaccaro. Ferraro
attributed much of the controversy to bias against
Italian-Americans.

Mondale said he selected Ferraro as a bold stroke to
counter his poor showing in polls against President Reagan and
because he felt America lagged far behind other democracies in
elevating women to top leadership roles.

"The time had come to eliminate the barriers to women of
America and to reap the benefits of drawing talents from all
Americans, including women," Mondale said.

In the end, Reagan won 49 of the 50 states, the largest
landslide since Franklin D. Roosevelt`s first re-election, in
1936 over Alf Landon.

In the years after the race, Ferraro told interviewers
that she would have not have accepted the nomination had she
known how it would focus criticism on her family.

PTI