Biden praises Walter F. Mondale at Memorial

There was, indeed, a typically “Minnesota nice” quality to the event. The praise spoke of Mr. Mondale’s Norwegian stoicism, Midwestern values ​​and his dedication to helping others. His beloved University of Minnesota marching band played the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Lillian Hochman, a young actress from Minnesota, sang “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie,” a Mondale favorite.

Mr. Mondale was among the Democratic senators who encouraged Mr. Biden to take his seat after winning the 1972 election, even though the candidate’s wife and daughter had just died in a tragic car accident. The two went on to serve together in the Senate for four years and for another four years when Mr. Mondale was Vice President under Jimmy Carter. Both Mr. Mondale and Mr. Biden were examples of a different generation of Washington Democrats who have now mostly disappeared from the limelight.

While serving under Mr. Carter from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Mondale set a standard for the vice presidency that later benefited Mr. Biden. Rather than a mere ornamental figure whose main task was to check on the president’s health each morning, as most of his predecessors had been, Mr Mondale set out to make the vice president a central figure in the administration of Mr. Carter.

He negotiated to be the first vice president to have an office in the West Wing, just down the hall and around the corner from the Oval Office, and he insisted on having a voice in most major issues of the day. His memo to Mr. Carter outlining his expanded vision for the job later became a template for most if not all vice presidents who came after – including Mr. Biden, who consulted with him when he took office under President Barack Obama.

Mr Mondale also paved the way for the current holder of his former job. During his 1984 presidential campaign, he chose Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate, making her the first woman to run on a major party ticket for vice president, although their bid fell through. . Thirty-six years later, Vice President Kamala Harris has shattered that glass ceiling as part of Mr. Biden’s ticket.

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