Geraldine Ferraro, First Female Vice Presidential Candidate, Dead of Blood Cancer at 75

Geraldine Ferraro, a former congresswoman and Fox News contributor who was the first woman and Italian American to run as vice president of the United States, has died of blood cancer at the age of 75.

According to Ferraro’s obituary: “Ferraro spent thirteen years at home raising her children, during which time she also practiced law pro bono in Queens County Family Court on behalf of women and children and served as President of the Queens County Women’s Bar Association.

“In 1974, she was sworn in as an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. There, she started the Special Victims Bureau, where she supervised the prosecution of sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence and violent crimes against senior citizens.

“Ferraro was first elected to Congress from New York’s Ninth Congressional District in Queens in 1978, and served three terms in the House of Representatives before being tapped for the Vice Presidential run.”

Ferraro used to joke that she represented “Archie Bunker’s district,” which was mainly conservative Democrat, in Queens. When asked if Archie had voted for her, Ferraro quipped that he likely had not, but Edith likely had. Meathead as well, almost certainly.

Ferraro obtained her greatest fame in 1984 when she was tapped by Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. Many feminist hailed the selection as a breakthrough in political history, a shattering of one of the many glass ceilings in American politics. Others, perhaps more cynically, suggested that it was a desperation move by a candidate who was heavily favored to be beaten by President Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro, up until 1984 an obscure member of Congress, proved to be unready for the media attention and the general rough and tumble of national politics. Scrutiny was brought to bear on her husband, John Zaccaro’s real estate dealings that some thought to be dubious at best. Ferraro also seemed to be unable to handle the aggressive attacks by then Vice President George H. W. Bush during the Vice Presidential debate. Bush, somewhat crudely, boasted the next day that he had, “Kicked a little a–.”

Battered but unbowed, Ferraro gamely fought on, making some people think that the wrong person may have been on top of the ticket. Nevertheless the Mondale-Ferraro ticket went down to defeat in one of the biggest landslides in history, Later, Ferraro ran for the Senate twice unsuccessfully. She wound up, in another example of irony, as a contributor for Fox News, which retains a large stable of commentators of a variety of points of view.

Unique of all Democrats, Ferraro was very gracious toward Sarah Palin, a sentiment that was returned warmly. The sisterhood of female vice presidential candidates may be small at the current time, but the bonds are stronger than political differences.

Ferraro leaves behind numerous children, grandchildren, other relations, and admirers of all political stripes.

Source: Geraldine Ferraro Dead at 75 , NBC News, March 25, 2011