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Saturday
Mar262011

Geraldine Ferraro, First Woman VP Candidate, Dies at 75

ABC News(BOSTON) -- Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital, a spokesman for her family said. She was 75. 

Ferraro, the first woman and the first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket, was Walter Mondale's vice presidential running mate in 1984 on the Democratic Party ticket.

She earned a reputation for speaking her mind on the issues of the day, sometimes generating controversy for her outspoken opinions.

The New York Democrat served three terms in the House of Representatives. In 1998, she ran and lost a bid for the Senate -- her second failed attempt in six years to serve in the Senate. That would be her last campaign.

After making racially-charged comments about Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in 2008, Ferraro stepped down as a member of the finance committee for the presidential campaign of then Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Clinton went on to lose the presidential nomination to Obama.

Ferraro had told a California newspaper that 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's record of public service and as a trailblazing woman is perhaps her greatest legacy. Many believe she helped open the door to countless female candidates, including Republican Sarah Palin.

Ferraro told National Public Radio in 2008 that she was glad to see Palin on the GOP ticket with Sen. John McCain.

Ferraro graduated from Fordham Law School, one of only three women in her class. She raised her children, passed the bar, served as an assistant district attorney in the Queens County District Attorney's Office, and was first elected to Congress from New York's Ninth Congressional District in Queens in 1978, and served three terms in the House.

From 1996 until 1998, Ferraro was a co-host of Crossfire, a political interview program, on CNN. She was also a partner in the CEO Perspective Group, a consulting firm that advises top executives.

Ferraro was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 1998. She publicly disclosed the illness in June 2001.

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