RIP Walter Mondale – an old school gentleman who nodded to the future

There is an important connection between Jimmy Carter’s vice president and Kamala Harris, writes Andrew Buncombe

Friday 14 May 2021 23:57
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Walter Mondale pictured in January 1977. Jimmy Carter had selected him as his running mate ahed of winning the White House the previous year
Walter Mondale pictured in January 1977. Jimmy Carter had selected him as his running mate ahed of winning the White House the previous year

Walter Mondale was a man on a mission – but he only had days to pull it off.

A week earlier, on 25 October, 2002, Paul Wellstone, the fiercely-loved senator from Minnesota, had died with his family when his campaign plane crashed in the northwest of the state in the freeze of a Midwest winter.

As Democrats scrambled to put someone else on the ballot for a race they had  expected  to win, there was only one real option: Walter “Fritz” Mondale”, who had represented Minnesota as a senator himself years earlier, before serving as Jimmy Carter’s vice president, and then being defeated in a landslide by Ronald Reagan when he sought the presidency himself.

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