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Walter Mondale Dies At 93

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The family of Walter Mondale says the Minnesota native and former vice president has died at the age of 93 (3:17).

Video Transcript

FRANK VASCELLARO: Good evening, everyone. We're following some breaking news. And we will be brief with this, but we are just learning of the passing of former vice president Walter Mondale.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: The 93-year-old died today. A statement from his family said that, "Beyond his commitment to public service, our dad was committed to our family, and we will miss him more than words can capture." For more than half a century, Walter Mondale played a significant role at the center of America's most important events.

FRANK VASCELLARO: He was the latest-- the last, I should say-- of a generation of national leaders from Minnesota. Pat Kessler has looked back at his life and career.

PAT KESSLER: He was the son of a Methodist minister and a music teacher from tiny Elmore, Minnesota. But Walter Mondale had other ideas--

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

--organizing Hubert Humphrey's first US senate campaign, state attorney general, US senator, and vice president of the United States.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Choosing Mondale for vice president was a surprise, but the small town kid from Elmore understood the peanut farmer from Plains.

WALTER MONDALE: When Carter and I got together walking through his small town, I understood it. And when we talked about these issues, I think we hit it off.

PAT KESSLER: Mondale redefined the vice presidency, Carter's closest advisor, remaining friends for life, the longest living former president and vice president in US history.

JIMMY CARTER: He was a perfect partner, and I don't think we ever had a serious argument during the four years, which was better than the relationship between me and my wife.

[LAUGHTER]

[APPLAUSE]

PAT KESSLER: Mondale made history on his own when he ran, choosing America's first female running mate, Geraldine Ferraro.

WALTER MONDALE: Our message is that America is for everyone.

PAT KESSLER: Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide, winning only his home state of Minnesota. But he wasn't finished. Ambassador to Japan in the '90s, and in 2002, thrust again into public life.

WOLF BLITZER: Senator Wellstone was indeed aboard that small plane and is now confirmed to have died.

PAT KESSLER: US Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash days before the election.

[MUSIC - U2, "BEAUTIFUL DAY"]

(SINGING) It's a beautiful day.

PAT KESSLER: Mondale took Wellstone's place in a senate campaign marked by shock and grief, losing his last race.

- (SINGING) Minnesota is for lovers, and it's--

PAT KESSLER: Mondale was never down for long. Late in life, he still had a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor--

WALTER MONDALE: Some people have complained tonight that there's been a lot of flattery going on. I don't find it that way at all.

[LAUGHTER]

PAT KESSLER: --dividing his time between teaching and his law office, but never changing who he was.

WALTER MONDALE: I'm a progressive. I like to see human problems solved. I like to end hateful behavior if I can. I guess that makes me a liberal.

FRANK VASCELLARO: This evening, the Mondale family said they also want to thank the staff for their care and friendship of Walter Mondale throughout the years.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: Plans for memorials will be announced later for both Minnesota and Washington, DC. Of course, we'll have a lot more tonight at 10:00, and more from Pat Kessler.