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Week of 10.31.08

Geraldine Ferraro Speaks Out

Geraldine Ferraro Geraldine Ferraro talked to NOW about a range of issues, including her support for Sen. Barack Obama. During the primaries, Ferraro--who was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1984--supported Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Note: These are edited selects from NOW's conversation with Geraldine Ferraro.

On Barack Obama

I don't know him that well. I've never met him. [In picking Joe Biden] it seemed to me that not only is he smart, but he also knows where he could use help. And he's ready to pull that help in and share that power of the White House.

On Hillary Clinton

A lot of us felt she was treated very, very poorly, both by the media and by the Obama campaign. They raised the race card—which was totally unnecessary—against her, against Bill Clinton, about [Pennsylvania Gov.] Ed Rendell, me. I mean, it was one person after another.

On Healing

People at that time were so angry. I was [hearing] "I cannot vote for Obama for what they did to Hillary and I cannot vote for McCain, so I'm either going to write in her name or maybe I will vote for McCain." They were ambivalent; they just didn't know what to do with this thing, but they were definitely not voting for Obama. I think a lot of that has moved since then and I think time has healed some of this. I think Hillary has healed some of it. And believe it or not, I think even Sarah Palin's nomination has [helped to heal the anger]—not that they see her as equivalent to Hillary Clinton.

On Gov. Palin's Nomination

I never expected that we would see a second woman on a national scene in the same election cycle, and a Republican ... There are some people who will vote for the [McCain-Palin] ticket because there is a woman on the ticket. But the flip side is there are going to be some people who will vote against that ticket who would've been McCain supporters because she's on the ticket.

On Katie Couric

Katie Couric was one of the few women journalists who said the way Hillary Clinton was treated was really very sexist. And she was very, very good in her interview with Palin. She was very on target. She didn't kill her with hard questions. And when you're asked a question like "What do you read?" God, you should be able to answer that one, you know?

On Female Candidates

Every time a woman runs, women win. When you throw a pebble into a lake, the ripples move far beyond the point of immediate impact. And those ripples are what you hear constantly...You talk to all of these people who are in positions of power. Women in the Senate. One after the other has come up to me and said, "The impact of your campaign did make a difference."

Let me also assure you that when I ran in 1984, if my name were Gerard instead of Geraldine, I would never have gotten the nomination. I mean, I was there because I was a woman. I drew crowds because I was a woman national candidate.

On the Concerns of Women Swing Voters

They're thinking about the economy. They're not worrying about who's a woman on the ticket and not a woman. They're interested in their families, just like the men are. They're the ones who are sitting there, saying, "What does it mean to me? Don't talk to me about Wall Street, I don't own stock. I have to worry about how I'm going to pay my bills. Is my husband going to have a job?"

On the Impact of a Vice Presidential Candidate

People don't vote for the vice president. People vote for the top of the ticket. They're voting for president. They're voting for a person that they feel they can trust. Who's on the second line? Nice discussion, [but] vice presidential candidates mean very, very little.

On Health Care

I have cancer, and it's a very expensive illness to treat. I'm alive today because I have the best ability to get good care and good doctors and good medicine. And if it's not paid for by my insurance company, I will pay for it. But there are a lot of people out there who are not getting the same kind of treatment. There are a lot of people saying, "What do I do for my kids, what do I do for my family, how do I pay the bills? And how do I get coverage?" And this is what I sit up and worry about more than anything.

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