Walter Frederick Mondale (January 5, 1928 April 19, 2021) was an American politician, diplomat, and lawyer who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. He later was the Democratic Party's nominee in the 1984 presidential election, but lost to incumbent Ronald Reagan in an Electoral College and popular vote landslide, with Reagan winning 49 states while Mondale only carried his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. His vice presidential nominee, New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, was the first female vice-presidential nominee of any major party in U.S. history.
Mondale was appointed Minnesota Attorney General in 1960 by Governor Orville Freeman and was elected to a full term as attorney general in 1962 with 60% of the vote. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate upon the resignation of Senator Hubert Humphrey following Humphrey's election as vice president in 1964. Mondale was elected to a full Senate term in 1966 and reelected in 1972.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic presidential nominee, chose Mondale as his vice-presidential running mate. The CarterMondale ticket defeated incumbent president Gerald Ford and his vice presidential running mate, Bob Dole, after which Mondale resigned from the Senate as he prepared to succeed to the vice presidency. Carter and Mondale's time in office was marred by a worsening economy and they lost the 1980 election to Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In 1984, Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination, with his vice presidential running mate being Geraldine Ferraro, a Congresswoman from New York, who became the first female vice-presidential nominee of any major party in U.S. history. Mondale and Ferraro lost the election to the incumbents Reagan and Bush.
President Bill Clinton appointed Mondale U.S. Ambassador to Japan in 1993; he retired from that post in 1996. In 2002, Mondale became the last-minute choice of the Minnesota DemocraticFarmerLabor Party to run for Senate after the death of Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election. Mondale narrowly lost the race to Saint Paul mayor Norm Coleman. Mondale was the oldest living former U.S. vice president from 2018 to 2021, following the death of George H. W. Bush.
In MediaLive-Action TV
- Saturday Night Live: He was impersonated seven times by four different actors: Twice by Bill Murray, once by Brad Hall, then three times by Gary Kroeger, and in his final portrayal was impersonated by Dana Carvey.
- In Kentucky Fried Politics, Walter Mondale actually wins the Presidency in a landslide over Ronald Reagan in the 1976 election. His administration is best known for getting the U.S. involved in Uganda and Ethiopia as well as his disagreements with his Vice President Mike Gravel.
- American Dad!: In "The Best Christmas Story Never Told", an Alternate History caused by Martin Scorsese never making Taxi Driver, and John Hinckley in turn never trying to assassinate Ronald Reagan, sees Mondale actually win the 1984 presidential election — and then surrender the country to the USSR three weeks later.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Lisa's First Word", it is shown that The Springfield Shopper issue from the day Lisa was born had the headline "Mondale to Hart: Where's the Beef?".
- In "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington", it is mentioned that a cleaner that looked like Walter Mondale helped Krusty with his airline rerouting bill.
- In "The Kid Is All Right", Lisa had a nightmare about "losers" in which Mondale, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry appeared to her in ghostly forms, referencing that all three were Democrats who lost U.S. presidential elections: Mondale in 1984, Dukakis in 1988 and Kerry in 2004.