Washington, April 20, 2021: Former U.S. Vice President Mundell, the lax icon who famously told voters that he should win the presidential elections for tax increases, died on Monday, according to U.S. media reports. He was 93 years old.
No cause was given for Mondale’s death, according to reports citing a statement from his family.
Mondale served as vice president under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.
“Today I mourn the passing of my dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country’s history,” Carter said in a statement, extending his condolences to his former number two’s family.
“He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States, and the world.”
Prior to his stint at the White House, Mondale had served as attorney general to his home state of Minnesota from 1960 to 1964, and then as US senator from that state from 1964 to 1976.
After Carter left office, Mondale went on to serve as ambassador to Japan between 1993 and 1996.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, a fellow Minnesotan, mourned Mondale’s passing, calling him “kind and dignified to the end,” while former President Barack Obama said Mondale “championed progressive causes and changed the role of VP.”
Current Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement her predecessor “led an extraordinary life of service,” and called him “so generous with his wit and wisdom over the years.”
President Joe Biden recalled his best memories of Mundell, including when he first came to the U.S. Senate, he was Biden’s first greeting.
Walter Frederick “Fritz” Mondale was born on January 5, 1928 in a small town in Ceylon, Minnesota. The son of a Methodist pastor and a music teacher, he traveled through several small towns in the southern part of the state throughout his childhood.
At the age of 20, Mondale became the congressional district manager for Hubert Humphrey’s successful Senate campaign. Humphrey later became Mondale’s political mentor.
Mondale began his national political career in 1964, when he was appointed to fill the Senate seat of Humfrey, who had resigned as Vice President.
Mundell is an outspoken supporter of civil rights, advocating education, housing, migrant workers’ rights, and child nutrition throughout his career in the Senate.
In 1984, he confronted Republican Ronald Reagan and made his own White House bid. Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro, the representative of the United States, as his running mate, making him the first major party presidential candidate to include women in the race.
During the campaign, he notoriously told voters that if he wins, he would expect tax increases, which would then continue to define race.
On Election Day, Mondale won only Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
“I did my best,” he said the day after the vote.
Mondale served as the US ambassador to Japan under Bill Clinton, and he sought to increase trade between the two countries.
He kept up his relationship with the Clintons and in 2008 initially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. He changed his endorsement once Obama secured the nomination.
Mondale married his wife, Joan Adams Mondale, in 1955. The couple had three children: sons Ted and William, and daughter Eleanor.
Ted and William followed their father into politics and public service, while Eleanor became a broadcast journalist.
Joan died in 2014 after an extended illness, and Eleanor died in 2011 from brain cancer.