Born on January 5, 1928, Walter Mondale served as the 42nd vice president of the United States under President Jimmy Carter. After college, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and attended law school once discharged. He graduated cum laude in 1956.
He practiced law in Minneapolis and was appointed the Minnesota Attorney General at age 32. He proved himself competent that he was elected to the post two years later. His political career continued to advance that by 1966, he was elected to the Senate.
Carter chose Mondale as his running mate in 1976. As vice president, he became the first one to have an office in the White House. He’s also credited for expanding the role of vice president from nominal leader to presidential advisor and arbitrator for the administration.
In 1984, he secured the Democratic Party presidential nomination and ran against incumbent Ronald Reagan. After his unsuccessful presidential bid, he returned to his law practice. When Bill Clinton was president, Mondale was the US Ambassador to Japan.
On April 19, 2021, at the age of 93, Mondale died from natural causes during his sleep. Credited for shaping and defining the vice presidency into what it is today, Mondale was also the first presidential candidate to choose a woman as running mate.
Here are 20 Walter Mondale quotes to remember the legacy he has left behind.
There’s a lot of bad consequences that flow from segregation. The kids don’t do as well. We live separately. We don’t learn about each other. We’re all Americans. And yet, we separate based on, basically, race. And I believe it’s got to stop. – Walter Mondale
If you are sure you understand everything that is going on, you are hopelessly confused. – Walter Mondale
Running for President is physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually the most demanding single undertaking I can envisage unless it’s World War III. – Walter Mondale
I believe there were things I probably should have done differently. But I’m not going to spend a lot of time crying over spilt milk. – Walter Mondale
Modern politics today requires a mastery of television. I’ve never really warmed up to television and, in fairness to television, it’s never warmed up to me. – Walter Mondale
There’s no question that history will record that I took a helluva shellacking. – Walter Mondale
When I was a young man, I used to dream maybe someday I could be an alderman. Instead of that I became an attorney general, a senator, a vice president, a Democratic nominee. – Walter Mondale
We told the truth, we obeyed the law, and we kept the peace. – Walter Mondale
I will not lobby. I will not be an influence-type lawyer. I’m a professional lawyer. – Walter Mondale
Whatever his private beliefs and religious practice, a president must be the guardian of the laws which ensure America’s religious diversity. – Walter Mondale
Do not despair. In every defeat are found the seeds of victory. – Walter Mondale
Pick somebody who knows what it’s like to live on an average income and to deal with the problems that most Americans face. Pick somebody who’s traveled this country and who will remember who put him in the White House – not to be a king but to be a public servant. – Walter Mondale
Political image is like mixing cement. When it’s wet, you can move it around and shape it, but at some point it hardens and there’s almost nothing you can do to reshape it. – Walter Mondale
President Reagan likes to say Uncle Sam is a kindly old man with a spine of steel, and that he is. But I want to see Uncle Sam as well with a mind and with a heart and with a soul and a conscience. – Walter Mondale
I earned my spurs in the civil rights movement. All my life, not for political but for religious reasons, moral reasons, that’s where I’ve been, and I’m proud of it, and I’ll always be there. – Walter Mondale
The course of nationalism, once it’s attached to a cause opposite yours, is still the strongest force in the world. – Walter Mondale
I will end the lawlessness that’s destroying our environment. I will take polluters to court, not to lunch. – Walter Mondale
History has vindicated me that we would have to raise taxes. It was very unpopular, but it was undeniably correct. – Walter Mondale
We have no right to poison, to eat up, to chew, to pollute this wonderful country of ours. We are required to save it and purify it and protect it. – Walter Mondale
One of the things I’m most proud of is that not once in my public career did I ever lose an election in Minnesota. – Walter Mondale
Share these 20 Walter Mondale quotes to honor the late former vice president’s life.