Jimmy Carter Leads Tributes to Walter Mondale

Former President Jimmy Carter credited Walter F. Mondale, his onetime vice president who died on Monday at 93, with transforming the office from a secondary role to a governing partner with his political skill and personal integrity.

Mr. Carter led the tributes to Mr. Mondale, many of them coming from the political left.

They recalled Mr. Mondale, the 42nd vice president and a former U.S. senator who lost the 1984 presidential election in a landslide to Ronald Reagan, as an indefatigable advocate for liberal causes like civil rights reform and a gracious public servant who selected the first female running mate on a major party ticket, Geraldine Ferraro.

In a statement, Mr. Carter, 96, called Mr. Mondale, whose nickname was Fritz, the best vice president in American history.

“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,” Mr. Carter said. “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.”

President Biden, in a joint statement with the first lady, Jill Biden, said on Monday night that he had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Mondale and his family over the weekend. He recalled how Mr. Mondale was one of the first people to greet him when he arrived in Washington in 1973 when both he and Mr. Mondale were senators, and how he looked to him for advice.

“When President Obama asked me to consider being his vice president, Fritz was my first call and trusted guide,” Mr. Biden said. “He not only took my call, he wrote me a memo. It was Walter Mondale who defined the vice presidency as a full partnership, and helped provide a model for my service.”

Mr. Biden said that few senators had commanded such universal respect as Mr. Mondale.

“He may have been modest and unassuming in manner, but he was unwavering in his pursuit of progress; instrumental in passing laws like the Fair Housing Act to prevent racial discrimination in housing, Title IX to provide more opportunities for women, and laws to protect our environment,” he said.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to the office, lauded Mr. Mondale for his collaborative role in the Carter administration and for his selection of Ms. Ferraro in 1984 as his running mate.

“He brought the president and the vice President closer together, redefining the relationship as a true partnership,” Ms. Harris said in a statement on Monday night. “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.”

Ms. Harris said that Mr. Mondale’s choice of Ms. Ferraro had opened “a new door to the future,” to borrow his words.

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