A strong argument could be made if there were no Geraldine Ferraro, there would be no Hillary Clinton or Sara Palin.
Ferraro pretty much shattered the glass ceiling in politics and that's a huge understatement.
Ferraro in 1984 became the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket.
Ferraro did it with class, and held up to the ferocious media scrutiny that came her way, mostly because of her husband’s business dealings, but Ferraro proved to the political establishment world (what most of us already knew)that a woman could actually handle the rough world of politics and Ferraro did it with class.
In 2011, with women in such top prominent political positions, (Secretary of State and a historic number of women in the U.S. Senate), it almost seems like no big deal now, what Ferraro did at the time. She went from being a Queens congresswoman, and was pushed into not just national, but international prominence when Presidential nominee Walter Mondale selected her for the ticket against incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Democratic Delegates in San Francisco erupted in cheers at the first line of her speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination. (You can see part of her speech to the Democratic National Convention on my website: Dominiccarterreports.com)
"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 ended up often overshadowed Mondale on the campaign trail, often drawing larger crowds and more media attention than the actual presidential candidate.
To know Ferraro, one couldn’t help but like her. I would tell her away from the TV cameras she was one of the sexiest women alive, and she would take the compliment in stride, flashing her million dollar smile. Ferraro was very approachable, and never came off as the Democratic icon that she was. We worked on several projects together, and it was an honor to even be in the same room as Geraldine Ferraro for me.
"Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life," President Obama said in a statement. "Whether it was as a public school teacher, assistant district attorney, Member of Congress, or candidate for Vice President, Geraldine fought to uphold America's founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all."
Referring to his two daughters, Obama added: "Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live."
Bush, who had a testy debate with Ferraro in the 1984 campaign and won the presidency himself four years later, said in a statement that, "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," Bush added, "not the least of which was the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics."
If you don't understand Ferraro’s accomplishment when she joined the Democratic ticket, consider this.
The major parties did not nominate another woman for vice president until Sarah Palin joined the Republican ticket with John McCain in 2008.
In a Facebook posting Saturday, Palin praised Ferraro as "an amazing woman who dedicated her life to public service."
Mondale and Ferraro may have lost the election in a landslide, but Ferraro changed American History forever. We all stand on her shoulders.
Ferraro will be missed. She was 75, and died at Massachusetts General Hospital where she was being treated for blood cancer.