— 1984: Walter Mondale-Geraldine Ferraro
Case in point for why modern presidential campaigns typically vet their vice presidential prospects to the high heavens: Ferraro, who was a huge boon to Mondale's candidacy in the first days after he announced his pick. The first woman to appear on a major party's presidential ticket, Ferraro came with a compelling narrative about her humble beginnings. But soon came the relentless questions about her husband's finances, which turned Ferraro into a major liability for the campaign. At the same time, President Ronald Reagan was a popular incumbent, and the economy was recovering. Mondale and Ferraro lost the race by almost 17 million votes — that's 18 percentage points — and by a 525-13 margin in the Electoral College.
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