October 1, 2008

From Ferraro to Palin: Not Much Change in VP Coverage

Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and former Vice President Walter Mondale (Jack Smith/Courtesy The Associated Press)
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Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and former Vice President Walter Mondale (Jack Smith/Courtesy The Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin (Matt Sullivan/Courtesy Reuters)
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Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin (Matt Sullivan/Courtesy Reuters)

Here we go again. For the second time in 24 years, a woman is a major-party nominee for vice president. And just as in 1984, when Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, amid a "swirl of speculation," chose Rep. Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, GOP voters in 2008 are energized about Sen. John McCain’s pick of Gov. Sarah Palin. Through the archives of The New York Times, here is a brief look back at some of the coverage of Ferraro’s historic campaign.

July 13: Headline: "Mondale Decision: Praise Ignores Risks"
"Democratic leaders … greeted Walter F. Mondale’s choice of a woman as his running mate as a bold attempt to reshape his political image and to fire up what some feared would become a humdrum, almost hopeless challenge against President Reagan."

July 13: Headline: "Democrats Praise Selection; Many Feminists Are Elated"
"Prominent Democrats … rallied around Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro … and feminist leaders praised the selection as a historic breakthrough. … Republican spokesmen, apparently presaging their line of attack in the campaign this fall, challenged what they called Mrs. Ferraro’s limited experience, especially in foreign affairs."

July 19: Headline: "Mondale Might Have to Work Hard to Outshine the Woman at His Side"
"At an Italian restaurant … a couple of Washington political professionals, both liberal Democrats, were talking about the unusual political problems facing Walter F. Mondale as the result of his history-making choice of a woman as his running mate. … These political operatives and other Democrats … wonder if Mr. Mondale faces the prospect of being overshadowed in the fall campaign by Representative Ferraro."

July 20: Headline: "The Ferraro Factor"
"Party leaders from all regions of the country hailed ‘the Ferraro factor’ … as a new trump card that had incalculably altered the prospects for the fall campaign. … ‘She’s Archie Bunker, she’s a religious woman in the Bible Belt, she’s a mother and gets down and talks plain about kids, she’s a wife and supportive, she’s worked hard to get where she is, she’s law and order, she’s tough,’ said Jimmy Knight, the Alabama chairman. ‘You betcha she’ll sell in Alabama.’"

Aug. 7: Headline: "House Republican Chief Assails Ferraro Choice"
"Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro would have been an extremely unlikely choice to run for Vice President if she were not a woman, and her inexperience will begin to show in a long campaign, according to Representative Robert H. Michel, the House minority leader. ‘I doubt very much whether, in today’s politics, we would be inclined to pick a third-term member of Congress if he were a man, with no other experience, other than as state’s attorney, or district attorney, and say he is qualified to be President,’ Mr. Michel … said in an interview."

Aug. 15: Headline: "Running Mate Drawing Flood of New Volunteers"
"While there are no hard figures … leaders from a wide political spectrum agree that the nomination of Mrs. Ferraro for Vice President has generated an unexpected surge of volunteers, the vast majority of them women, to work for the Democratic ticket."

Aug. 20: Headline: "Ferraro, in TV Questioning, Says She Is Hiding Nothing"
"In a spirited exchange on national television, Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro … defended her actions on several personal financial matters, saying she had nothing to hide. … But Mrs. Ferraro … declined to give details when asked about approximately $60,000 in back taxes that her press secretary said Mrs. Ferraro and her husband, John A. Zaccaro, owed from 1978."

Aug. 21: Headline: "Aides to Mondale Say Ferraro Got Limited Review as Running Mate"
"Walter F. Mondale’s top campaign office admitted … that aides had mistakenly overlooked some aspects of the finances of Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro and her husband, John A. Zaccaro, before Mr. Mondale picked Mrs. Ferraro as his running mate. … James A. Johnson, the Mondale campaign chairman, said … that campaign aides and advisers had spent only 48 hours going over the financial records of the Queens Congresswoman and her husband."

Aug. 22: Headline: "Republicans Hint Ferraro Is Liability"
"With stickers saying ‘Mondale-Eagleton ’84’ and with public statements, Republicans seem to be suggesting that Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro may be forced off the Democratic ticket because of the furor over her family’s finances. … Senator Bob Kasten, A Wisconsin Republican said: ‘She’s no longer an asset, she’s a detriment. I think this is really beginning to hurt Mondale.’"

Aug. 24: Headline: "Ferraro’s Finances: Is the Press Being Fair?"
"For over a week, the financial affairs of Geraldine A. Ferraro … and John Zaccaro, her husband, have been under intense scrutiny by the nation’s news media. … But bubbling beneath the surface of the story is a difficult question that promises to emerge as an issue of public debate and is already being discussed internally by people in the news business: Has the nation’s press been fair to Representative Ferraro?"

Sept. 6: Headline: "Challenges to Ferraro Bring Strong Responses Among Women"
"There is a strong backlash among many women against the grilling from the news media the couple have faced, along with a swell of pride similar to that experienced by blacks about the candidacy of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. … Many women framed their difficulty: they think Mrs. Ferraro is facing tougher scrutiny because she’s a woman, but they do not want her to get special treatment because she is a woman."

Nov. 4: Headline: "Ferraro Says She Senses Surprise Vote by Women"
"Geraldine A. Ferraro says she senses that a hidden vote, by women who are not telling their husbands, their friends or poll takers that they intend to vote for her, will emerge on Election Day. … She said she was unperturbed by results of two New York Times/CBS Polls that showed that by the end of October her favorable ratings had dropped and her unfavorable rating had increased."

Nov. 7: Headline: "Excerpts From Ferraro’s Talk"
"For two centuries, candidates have run for President. Not one from a major party ever asked a woman to be his running mate until Walter Mondale. When he asked me to campaign by his side, he opened a door which will never be closed again. That is a victory of which every American can be proud. Campaigns, even if you lose them, do serve a purpose. My candidacy has said the days of discrimination are numbered. American women will never again be second-class citizens."

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