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Reaction to Geraldine Ferraro's Death

Here is a collection of statements reacting to news that Geraldine Ferraro died on Saturday.

Statement by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Passing of Geraldine Ferraro

"Gerry Ferraro was one of a kind -- tough, brilliant, and never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believed in -- a New York icon and a true American original. She was a champion for women and children and for the idea that there should be no limits on what every American can achieve. The daughter of an Italian immigrant family, she rose to become the first woman ever nominated to the national ticket by a major political party. She paved the way for a generation of female leaders and put the first cracks in America's political glass ceiling. She believed passionately that politics and public service was about making a difference for the people she represented as a congresswoman and Ambassador.

For us, Gerry was above all a friend and companion. From the rough-and-tumble of political campaigns to the important work of international diplomacy, we were honored to have her by our side. She was a tireless voice for human rights and helped lead the American delegation to the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Through it all, she was a loyal friend, trusted confidante, and valued colleague.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gerry's husband John, her children and grandchildren, and their entire family."

Statement by the President on the Passing of Geraldine Ferraro

Michelle and I were saddened to learn about the passing of Geraldine Ferraro. Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life. Whether it was as a public school teacher, assistant district attorney, Member of Congress, or candidate for Vice President, Geraldine fought to uphold America's founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all. And as our Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, she stood up for those ideals around the world. Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband, John Zaccaro, her children and grandchildren, and their entire family.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

Geraldine Ferraro will be deeply missed. She not only made history when she was nominated for Vice President, she inspired women across the country to reach their own greatness as they strengthened our country. Her service in the House is a source of pride to all of us in Congress.

In 1984, her nomination was greeted with thunderous applause in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The drumbeat that Geraldine Ferraro began that day in July will continue for a long time to come.

As a woman and Italian American, my family and I loved her dearly and will miss her personally.

My thoughts and prayers are with her husband John and the entire Ferraro family during this difficult time.

Former House Speaker Newt GingrichGeraldine Ferraro was a very good friend. We came to Congress at the same time and I had great admiration when she was when picked to be the first woman Vice Presidential candidate for a major party.

She worked with us at the Center for Health Transformation, focused largely on FDA reform and on helping with cancer, because she personally knew how important it was to have new medicines, which had saved her life for a decade.

We will all miss her. She was a very smart, very hardworking, wonderful person with a deep love for her family and for America. We will all miss her. Callista and I are keeping her family in our prayers.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

My family and I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Geraldine Ferraro. When I had the honor of working alongside Geraldine on election night last year, we both discussed the role of women in politics and our excited expectation that someday that final glass ceiling would be shattered by the election of a woman president. She was an amazing woman who dedicated her life to public service as a teacher, prosecutor, Congresswoman, and Vice Presidential candidate. She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. The world will miss her. May she rest in peace and may her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women.

Former President George H.W. Bush

Barbara and I were deeply saddened to learn of Gerry's passing. Though we were one-time political opponents, I am happy to say Gerry and I became friends in time - a friendship marked by respect and affection. I admired Gerry in many ways, not the least of which was the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics.

Barbara and I - and all Bushes - send our heartfelt condolences and love to Gerry's family.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

Geraldine Ferraro was a path-breaking figure. She made an indelible mark on our nation's history. She was my very dear friend. I will greatly miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this wrenching time.

To understand Geraldine Ferraro, you had to understand where she came from. Both of our parents owned small neighborhood shops. Her parents, Dominick and Antonetta Ferraro, ran a dime store and a restaurant. After the early death of her father, Antonetta went back into the garment industry to support the family. Gerry really felt the premature death of her dad. But she said it also made her tough.

Gerry's mother was a remarkable woman. On her own, she made sure Gerry and her brother Carl had a good education. She sent them to high school and college by crocheting beads on gowns.

Gerry was grounded in family and faith. She believed in hard work, sticking together, and going to school and church. And never forgetting where you came from. Her faith came from the beatitudes - hunger and thirst after the righteousness.

Even after Gerry married John Zaccaro, she remained a "Ferraro" in honor of her mother.

I came to Congress two years before Gerry. There were only 17 women in Congress at the time -- women like Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Holtzman. We became friends. We were the early birds. We weren't afraid to ruffle feathers.

Gerry was a powerhouse. Gerry was smart and savvy. She led from the head and from the heart. For her, it was all about her constituents who counted on her to fight for them. The old lady trying to get her social security check. The vet who needed his disability benefits. The small business guy who wanted to expand beyond his father's shop. The kid from a blue collar family who wanted to go to college. She was a fighter. They were who she was fighting for.

I'll never forget when Walter Mondale chose Gerry for his running mate in at the Democratic National Convention in 1984. She became our first woman Vice Presidential candidate. It sent shock waves through the country. The entire nation was proud that we had broken this barrier. It changed the way we thought of ourselves. Women began looking at themselves in a new way. They would say - she's not that much older than me. She's not that different than me. She definitely has worked hard. But she did it. Maybe I can do it too.

I was so proud of her. So proud of the Democrats. And so honored to second her nomination at the Democratic Convention that August. It was electric. The male delegates had given their tickets to their female alternates so they could witness this grand moment in history. Ten thousand people packed the auditorium, including lots of children. So many people there never thought they'd live to see the day we'd have a woman candidate for vice president.

After the campaign -- I told her, "Gerry -- it's kind of like breaking the sound barrier for the first time. You know, those guys in those planes starting to get to Mach 1 and then they got to Mach 2, or whatever it is they do to break the barrier. We got shaken up and pushed and pulled in a lot of directions just like they did. We didn't do it, but it's only the first time out."

Geraldine Ferraro cracked the marble ceiling. She paved the way for women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Someday, a woman will become President of the United States -- and Geraldine Ferraro paved the way. But she also paved the way for women in their day-to-day lives.

Gerry's nomination was a milestone for women in the United States but it was only one facet of her lifetime of contributions. She was the daughter of immigrants who lived the American dream and succeeded at a time and a place when women were frequently overlooked and undervalued. All along the way, as a public servant, businesswoman, teacher author and journalist, Gerry led by example and gave back in countless ways.

Her husband John Zaccaro and her children and grandchildren are in my thoughts and prayers.

In her acceptance speech at that convention in 1984, Gerry said that "Every one of us is given the gift of life, and what a strange gift it is. If it is preserved jealously and selfishly, it impoverishes and saddens. But if it is spent for others, it enriches and beautifies."

My dear friend Geraldine Ferraro did indeed live a beautiful and compelling life. The torch is once again passed to a new generation who must now continue the fight.