EXCLUSIVE: It was a decision that “changed what people thought was possible for women.”
That is how Donna Zaccaro describes the event 37 years ago when Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale selected her mother, New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, to be the first woman ever to run for vice president on a major party ticket.
Mondale, who passed away at age 93 Monday, was fondly recalled by Zaccaro in an exclusive interview with Fox News. The filmmaker said that Mondale will be remembered as “a champion of civil rights and equality, and just a decent, honorable, wonderful man.”
Zaccaro believes that by nominating a “non-white male” as his running mate at San Franciso’s Moscone Center in July of 1984, it showed that Mondale wanted to open the doors of opportunity and to prove that you could have non-white males in leadership roles. “He was such a champion of civil rights and equality, he saw choosing my mother as an extension of his civil rights work,” she said.
Ferraro was 49 when she accepted the nomination acknowledging her 21-year-old daughter and her siblings in her acceptance speech.
“To my daughters, Donna and Laura, and my son, John Jr., I say: My mother did not break faith with me, and I will not break faith with you,” said Ferraro concluding her emotional speech, standing all in white, something she later described as a dance between her and crying people in the audience.
“When we speak of the future, the message is Geraldine Ferraro,” said candidate Mondale at the same convention.
Zaccaro documented those emotional and historical moments in the 2014 documentary, “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving The Way.”
Even though the Mondale-Ferraro team lost by a landslide against the Reagan-Bush ticket, Zaccaro believes that it “was the first time that women and girls could actually see themselves in that sort of a position.”
Zaccaro, who calls Mondale a fatherly figure, says she and her family kept in touch with the Mondale family after her mother passed away in 2011.
“We generally talked to him around the holidays, my father spoke to him about a month ago. I spoke to him after Christmas. I went out and visited him when we were visiting colleges with my son in Minnesota.”
The last time Zaccaro and Mondale spoke about politics was right after then-presidential nominee Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate. She says Mondale was “thrilled” with the nomination.
Their next call was scheduled to discuss Dereck Chauvin’s trial, “Obviously, that didn’t happen,” said Zaccaro.
Walter Mondale died “peacefully from natural causes,” on the evening before the Chauvin verdict was handed down.