Chapter Excerpt — Geraldine Ferraro

"More Than Money" by Neil Cavuto

From Chapter Six: In the Blood, and Near the Heart

The Campaign of Her Life

Geraldine Ferraro had retired from a long, admirable, and well-known political career, and was enjoying her new life when she was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma after a routine physical in December 1998.

She was told that this particular type of blood cancer kills half of its victims in five years or less. However, it was currently in an inactive state in her bone marrow, a state doctors called "smoldering myeloma."  Not a very comforting term. The cancer hadn’t yet started to spread, but it could burst into "flames," and begin to grow rapidly at any time.

After overcoming her shock, Ferraro told only her immediate family. After decades of public service, she was now a private citizen, and she wanted to keep her privacy and protect her family from invasive media attention (a subject about which she knew a great deal), which would inevitably follow any announcement that she had cancer.

As the first woman on a presidential ticket, she had seen more than her share of journalistic probing, of her family’s finances, her children, their friends, backgrounds, and education; whatever the subject, Ferraro had had enough of it.

In addition, she was and is one of the few political types I know who has absolutely no interest in the limelight. Indeed, part of her incredible political longevity was due to her never seeking out public attention in the first place.

She’s a woman I had grown to admire from afar and, after her numerous appearances on my show, have come to know fondly. She is passionate in her beliefs and never wavers, vacillates, or amends them to make them consistent with the results of some focus-group or the latest litmus test. I’ve told her on the air that she could teach many both in and outside her party the meaning of “core” beliefs. You didn’t have to agree with her, but you knew that what she said and what she believed meant a great deal to her.

Ferraro and I are not exactly on the same political page; her traditional liberalism doesn’t always fit comfortably with my own convictions. We’ve been known to rib each other, always in good nature, on our shared Fox News broadcasts, and she remains a favorite of mine because of her passion and her commitment. I told her one day on my show, "Geraldine, you’ve got a no-BS way about you," and I held her then, as I do now, in the highest regard.

We differ mightily on how best to govern, but let there be no doubt, she remains a conscience in her party, and one of my favorite political figures. Those in her party continue to debate their policies and their role in society, but Ferraro always made it clear that their platform should be about compassion, honor, and dignity, and she has never failed to attack her fellow Democrats if they fail to act in a way that reflects that compassion, honor, and dignity.

As a congresswoman, she was deeply passionate about leveling the playing field for all Americans, and building a country that saw its greatest strength in helping its weakest members. She fought to end pension discrimination against women and provide them better job options. She fought to open IRAs and hold corporate crooks accountable, long before they became front page issues.

That’s what I like most about Ferraro: the ardor she brings to all of her causes. She doesn’t just spout popular rhetoric — she’s real.

The foregoing is excerpted from More Than Money by Neil Cavuto. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.

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