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NBC Flashback: Joan Mondale

Answer: Geraldine Ferraro and family

Tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum this week for Joan Mondale, who died Monday at the age of 83. As the wife of Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale, she earned the nickname “Joan of Art” for her passionate advocacy of the arts while her husband served as Vice President under President Jimmy Carter.

She continued to hold a very public role during her husband’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the presidency against Ronald Reagan in 1984. In fact, at the Democratic Convention in July of 1984, when NBC’s Jane Pauley welcomed Mrs. Mondale to the “Today” show, she used the phrase “seasoned campaign companion” to describe her.

Joan Mondale speaks out on NBC in 1984 4:20

Despite her relaxed manner, she was a fierce defender of one of her husband’s more controversial and surprising decisions – the selection of Geraldine Ferraro as the country’s first female vice presidential candidate.

Though Pauley pushed her guest to say whether Ferraro would have trouble winning support from some voters, Mrs. Mondale claimed that he had already been “vindicated in his decision.” She also assured viewers that as well as being an excellent candidate, Ferraro was on firm footing because she had a “lovely family.” Mrs. Mondale then revealed that she could say that confidently because she had spent the weekend before the convention getting to know Geraldine Ferraro and her family in nearby Lake Tahoe.