Former President Jimmy Carter took note of his friend and fellow former vice president Walter Mondale’s passing on Thursday, hailing him as “a man of extraordinary personal courage and a beacon of hope for the progressive and liberal ideas” in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
“To many, he was the iconic figure of American politics, a man of incredible warmth and humanity,” Mr. Carter said in a statement. “He was a friend and I mourn with his wife and daughters the loss of a great American.”
Former President Bill Clinton remembered Mr. Mondale as a man of the people, championing his fight for social justice.
“For an Administration whose conscience was always with ordinary Americans, no individual epitomized his value and principle more than Walter Mondale,” Mr. Clinton said in a statement. “He will be remembered as a major figure of our time and will always carry the torch of excellence we lifted him up to blaze. I shared some of the happiest days of my life with Walter, including just yesterday when the White House first opened to the press for the first time in ten years. When the press toured here, Walter always got to be the first to congratulate and greet them. Walter loved this house and its history, and the people who lived here. I love Walter, and I know he will be greatly missed by all of us.”
Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar called Mr. Mondale “a hero of our time” in a statement, which read, “Perhaps the most important takeaway from the Watergate hearings and the work that Walter led to shape and implement this nation’s campaign finance reform laws is that we Americans must take far more control of our own democracy. That’s why now is a critical time to elect more progressive Democrats. Minnesota’s next U.S. Senator has my full support.”
“On the most important issues in the world today, he put principle before politics, even when it put him at odds with Republican members of Congress,” wrote Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman who is the first Muslim elected to Congress. “Congressman Mondale’s life and legacy exemplify the best that our democracy has to offer. The impact he had on so many across our country, and around the world, in his role as a statesman and in his work for those around the world who need help, will be felt for decades to come. We cannot let any more Americans fall victim to the GOP’s attacks on our democracy.”
Politicians of many parties across the country paid their respects.
From Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, “Today America lost a statesman and a man who has been an inspiration to me for more than 30 years. Walter Mondale was one of the most honorable men I have ever met and an outstanding public servant. He lived a life of personal courage and made a lasting impact on the lives of millions.”
Rep. Joe Crowley, a Democrat from New York, said that Mr. Mondale was “the symbol of a kinder, gentler age of politics, one of the greatest senators in U.S. history, and a great American.”
“For decades, Mondale and Carter worked in partnership to unite the country in the aftermath of Watergate,” said Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. “President Carter will always be a special friend of mine, and I will continue to be grateful for the friendship he shared with my dad. Walter Mondale will always be a Democratic icon who always fought for the good of our nation and our great state of Minnesota.”