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Geraldine Ferraro's Family Finances – 1984

Feeding Frenzy The first woman nominated for vice president by a major party, Geraldine A. Ferraro, was Walter F. Mondale's last best hope for an upset victory against Ronald Reagan. That hope was extinguished when the finances of the congresswoman from New York and her husband, John Zaccaro, became the dominant issue of the pre-Labor Day campaign.

Charges of suspect real estate deals and unethical campaign funding filled the airwaves and newspapers for two weeks. Some publications, especially the Wall Street Journal, also pursued Zaccaro's purported, extremely tenuous Mafia connections – so intensely, in fact, that many observers perceived anti-Italian prejudice in the quest.

Finally, Ferraro held a cathartic late-August press conference before an audience of 150 journalists and three dozen television cameras to clear the air, and the campaign was then able to move on to other issues.


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© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato

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