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The Nation

March 27, 2011

First female VP candidate Ferraro dies at 75

(Continued)

BOSTON —

"Gerry actually waited for all of them to come, which I think was incredible," said Raje, director of the myeloma program at the hospital's cancer center. "They were all able to say their goodbyes to Mom."

Ferraro stepped into the national spotlight at the Democratic convention in 1984, giving the world its first look at a co-ed presidential ticket. It seemed, at times, an awkward arrangement — she and Mondale stood together and waved at the crowd but did not hug and barely touched.

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

Ferraro, a mother of three who campaigned wearing pastel-hued dresses and pumps, sometimes overshadowed Mondale on the campaign trail, often drawing larger crowds and more media attention than the presidential candidate.

But controversy accompanied her acclaim.

A Roman Catholic, she encountered frequent, vociferous protests of her favorable view of abortion rights.

She famously tangled with Bush, her vice presidential rival who struggled at times over how aggressively to attack Ferraro.

In their only nationally televised debate, in October 1984, Bush raised eyebrows when he said, "Let me help you with the difference, Ms. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon." Ferraro shot back, saying she resented Bush's "patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy."

Ferraro would later suggest on the campaign trail that Bush and his family were wealthy and therefore didn't understand the problems faced by ordinary voters. That comment irked Bush's wife, Barbara, who said Ferraro had more money than the Bush family. "I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich," Barbara Bush told reporters when asked to describe Ferraro. She later apologized.

In a statement, Bush praised Ferraro for "the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics." He said that after the 1984 race, "Gerry and I became friends in time — a friendship marked by respect and affection."

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