Vice President Walter Mondale led an extraordinary life of service. He defended our nation as a member of the United States Army during the Korean War, and he protected our Constitution as Minnesota’s Attorney General. As United States Senator, he fought for equal justice-working tirelessly to ban discrimination in housing and to build the Great Society.
Under President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Mondale transformed the Office of the Vice President. He brought the President and the Vice President closer together, re-defining the relationship as a true partnership. Vice President Mondale worked side by side with President Carter as the two endeavored to end the arms race, promote human rights, and establish peace.
When he won the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1984, Vice President Mondale made a bold and historic choice. He selected Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate-the first woman to be nominated as Vice President on a major party ticket in American history. With that nomination, Vice President Mondale opened “a new door to the future,” to borrow his words.
Vice President Mondale was so generous with his wit and wisdom over the years. I was able to speak with him just a few days ago and thank him for his service and his steadfastness. I will miss him dearly, and my heart is with his family today. I hope they find comfort in knowing that he is with his beloved wife, Joan, and daughter, Eleanor, now-and that his legacy will live on in all of us.
Each time I open my desk drawer and see his signature there, alongside the signatures of 11 other Vice Presidents, I will be reminded of and grateful for Vice President Mondale’s life of service.