As far as I'm concerned, just about the only good thing that happened in the 1984 election was the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro. And despite all that's happened to her since, I'm still proud to take some of the credit for having Gerry be the first woman on a national ticket. I first got to know her in 1978, when she beat the party regulars in her district and defeated Tom Manton in the primary. I was highly impressed with this bright, attractive woman who believed in the same principles as I did.

A few weeks before the convention, I was having lunch with Walter Mondale. "You've got the nomination sewn up," I said, "and it's time to start thinking about a running mate. I've got just the candidate for you -- Geraldine Ferraro from Queens. She's talented, she's a hard worker, she's articulate, she understands politics, and she's extremely popular in the House. She'd also give the ticket a great balance, because she's an Italian Catholic woman from the Northeast."

"I've never really thought about her," said Mondale.

When Geraldine was being considered, I said to her, "There's nothing in the woodwork, is there?"

She assured me everything was fine, and I had no reason to doubt it. But of course everything wasn't fine, and all the things that happened to Geraldine and her family after her nomination added up to a sad derailment of a brilliant political career.

But Geraldine Ferraro's historical importance must not be underestimated. The night she was nominated, my daughter Susan turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, "Dad, do you realize what this means? When we were young, you used to tell Tommy, Kip and Michael that someday they could be President of the United States. You never said that to Rosemary, and you never said it to me. But now all that has changed, and I'll be able to say it to my daughter." -- From Tip O'Neill's "Man of the House"