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Ferraro talks with longtime friend Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) before commencement exercises for Marymount Manhattan College, May 20, 2005, in New York City.
Geraldine Ferraro got a late start in Washington. Before entering politics, she first taught elementary school for five years — then spent more than twice that time at home, raising her children.
But by 1984, Ferraro had served two full terms (and been elected to a third) in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's 9th District.
Plotting her next career move, Rep. Ferraro knew that, to become Sen. Ferraro, she would have to raise her profile. She campaigned for and won the position of platform chair for the Democratic National Committee. Ferraro hosted party meetings across the country and soon caught the eye of Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, who served as vice president in the Carter administration. After considering a who's who of potential running mates, Mondale tapped Ferraro, making her the first woman named to a major party's presidential ticket.
Then-President Ronald Reagan defeated Mondale in a re-election landslide. But Ferraro's candidacy became a symbolic victory for women of all races. The former vice-presidential nominee talks with Tony Cox about leadership and gender in politics.