Former Vice President Walter Mondale Dead at 93

Katie Campione
·3 min read

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Former Vice President Walter "Fritz" Mondale has died. He was 93.

His family confirmed his death in a statement Monday, though no cause was given, the Associated Press reports.

Mondale served as vice president from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. He was also a former Minnesota senator and attorney general.

In a statement on Monday, Carter said he was "mourning the passing of dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country's history."

Carter continued: "During our administration, Fritz used his political skill and personal integrity to transform the vice presidency into a dynamic, policy-driving force that had never been seen before and still exists today. He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

"Fritz Mondale provided us all with a model for public service and private behavior. Rosalynn and I join all Americans in giving thanks for his exemplary life, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family."

In their own statement, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden said they had spoken with Mondale in the days before he died — "to reflect on the years of friendship we shared, and how much we learned from and leaned on each other."

The Bidens called him "our nation's most dedicated patriots and public servants."

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Mondale was the first vice president to occupy an office in the White House, rather than the building across the street. He worked closely with Carter on both U.S. and foreign policy.

In a 2015 tribute to Mondale, then-Vice President Joe Biden said he had used Mondale's term in office as a "roadmap" for his own.

"I took Fritz's roadmap. He actually gave me a memo, classic Fritz, gave me a memo, as to what I should be looking for and what kind of commitments I should get to be able to do the job the way Fritz thought it should be done," he said.

Mondale was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984. He was the first nominee from a major party to pick a woman as his running mate when he selected Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York, according to AP.

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Despite the history-making ticket, Mondale lost the election to Ronald Reagan in an infamous landslide — with an electoral vote of 525-13.

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He would go on to serve President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996.

In addition to his political career, Mondale also was an advocate for raising awareness about brain health, having lost both his wife, Joan, and his daughter, Eleanor, to brain diseases. In 2015, he was awarded the Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the American Academy of Neurology.

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On Sunday, Mondale's family sent a letter to his staffers upon his death, according to Axios. The letter read: "Dear Team, Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!"

He continued, "Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight. Joe in the White House certainly helps. I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you! My best to all of you! Fritz"