Her nomination energized the party faithful at the Democratic National Convention, where Ms. Ferraro received an eight-minute ovation, and she proved to be a dynamic presence on the campaign trail, where she often drew larger, more enthusiastic crowds than Mondale.
“This candidacy is not just a symbol, it’s a breakthrough,” she said during the campaign. “It’s not just a statement, it’s a bond between women all over America.”
Despite the historic nature of Ferraro’s candidacy, the Democratic ticket failed to inspire widespread support against the sheer weight of Reagan’s popularity.
Campaign missteps — including allegations of financial impropriety on the part of Ms. Ferraro’s husband — contributed to an overwhelming loss for Mondale and Ms. Ferraro as Reagan swept 49 of 50 states. He won 525 of 538 electoral votes, the largest number in any presidential election in history, and claimed 59 percent of the popular vote, including 55 percent of the ballots cast by women.
Ms. Ferraro never again held elected office, but she left a lasting impact on the voting public and on future officeholders. When she made her vice presidential run, 24 women were serving in the House and Senate. Twenty-seven years later, there are 88.
Palin and Clinton
In 2008, Sarah Palin, a former governor of Alaska, became the second woman to be a vice presidential candidate for a major party when she was nominated as John McCain’s Republican running mate.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and in 2007, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.
In a statement Saturday, Palin called Ms. Ferraro “an amazing woman. . . . She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. The world will miss her.”
Pelosi said in a statement that Ms. Ferraro “inspired women across the country to reach their own greatness as they strengthened our country.”
President Obama praised Ms. Ferraro as “a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life.”
He said of his own two daughters, “Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live.”
Ms. Ferraro’s rise to political prominence was as sudden and surprising as her later fall from political grace. In 1978, after serving as an assistant prosecutor in the New York City borough of Queens, she was elected to Congress, campaigning under the slogan, “Finally, a Tough Democrat.”