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Mondale remembered as effective policymaker, public servant

April 20, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, file photo, former Vice President Walter Mondale, left, sits onstage with former President Jimmy Carter during a celebration of Mondale's 90th birthday at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus, in Minneapolis. Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, died Monday, April 19, 2021. He was 93. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP, File)
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FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, file photo, former Vice President Walter Mondale, left, sits onstage with former President Jimmy Carter during a celebration of Mondale's 90th birthday at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus, in Minneapolis. Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, died Monday, April 19, 2021. He was 93. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP, File)
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FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, file photo, former Vice President Walter Mondale, left, sits onstage with former President Jimmy Carter during a celebration of Mondale's 90th birthday at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus, in Minneapolis. Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, died Monday, April 19, 2021. He was 93. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Reaction to the death of former Vice President Walter Mondale, who died Monday in Minneapolis at age 93:

“Today I mourn the passing of my dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country’s 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. 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. Rosalynn and I join all Americans in giving thanks for his exemplary life, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.” — former President Jimmy Carter.

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“When I arrived in the United States Senate in 1973, Walter Mondale was one of the first people to greet me. Through his work as a Senator, he showed me what was possible. He may have been modest and unassuming in manner, but he was unwavering in his pursuit of progress. ... There have been few senators, before or since, who commanded such universal respect. ... It was Walter Mondale who defined the vice presidency as a full partnership, and helped provide a model for my service.” — President Joe Biden.

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“When he won the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1984, Vice President Mondale made a bold and historic choice. He selected Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate — the first woman to be nominated as Vice President on a major party ticket in American history. With that nomination, Vice President Mondale opened ‘a new door to the future,’ to borrow his words. ... Each time I open my desk drawer and see his signature there, alongside the signatures of 11 other Vice Presidents, I will be reminded of and grateful for Vice President Mondale’s life of service.” — Vice President Kamala Harris.

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“Walter Mondale championed progressive causes and changed the role of VP — so leaders like @JoeBiden could be the last ones in the room when decisions were made. In selecting Geraldine Ferraro, he also paved the way for (Vice President Kamala Harris) to make history.” — former President Barack Obama.

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“Walter Mondale taught me that leadership isn’t all about giving soaring speeches and punchy sound bites — but actually getting things done for people. He always saw his responsibility as an elected leader as bigger than the immediate challenge at any given moment. His broader mission was helping to prepare a new generation of leaders for the next big decision that needed to be made.” — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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“I loved Walter Mondale and I’m not the only one. Mondale was a giant not only because of the positions he held ... but because of the work that he did. He provided his strong, compassionate, clear, and fearless voice to the world for over six decades, and he never stopped.” — Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.

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“Walter Mondale believed in and worked to create a nation with a heart, a soul, and a conscience. He believed that the greatness of America is found in the everyday men and women who build our nation, do its work, and defend its freedoms. And he fought tirelessly for those values until the very end of his life, imploring each of us through his example to continue the fight.” — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

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“Walter Mondale was an inspiration and mentor to generations of people in Minnesota and across this country who went on to serve the public in any number of ways. His death in this week of trauma for Minnesota calls us to our better angels and reminds us that, for all our humanly faults, we must never stop trying to do better by people.” — Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

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“Most who remark on Walter Mondale’s life focus on his legacy of truth-telling, law-abiding, and peace-keeping. And well they should. His legacy also includes inspiring the next generations of Minnesota leaders. Mark Dayton, Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, Steve Simon, Jake Sullivan, and many others felt called to public service by working with Mr. Mondale. They and countless University students and fellows will tell you that he was exceedingly generous with his time, wit, and candid advice.” — David Lillehaug, personal aide, 1983-84.

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“Teaching and co-hosting public programs with Mr. Mondale has been the pinnacle of my career. His deep Democratic loyalties are not what has stood out to me. Rather, it’s his unyielding curiosity to better understand public policies and see America achieve prosperity for all.” — Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota.