Joe Biden said in 2015 he learned how to be a good vice president from Walter Mondale

  • Then-Vice President Joe Biden honored former VP Walter “Fritz” Mondale at an event in 2015.
  • Mondale, who served as vice president to former President Jimmy Carter, died Monday at 93.
  • Biden said to Carter at the 2015 event that he and Mondale displayed the model relationship between a president and VP.
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Joe Biden, then vice president, said in 2015 he took the “roadmap” of the vice presidency from former Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale.

Mondale, who served under former President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, died Monday at 93.

At a 2015 event hosted by the University of Minnesota honoring Mondale, a Minnesota native, Biden said he “took Fritz’s roadmap.”

“He actually gave me a memo, classic Fritz, gave me a memo, as to what I should be looking for and what kind of commitments I should get to be able to do the job the way Fritz thought it should be done,” Biden said at the 2015 event. 

During the 2015 tribute to Mondale, Biden thanked Mondale and Carter, who were both in attendance, for being the model relationship between a president and a vice president — and the confidence the former should have in the latter.

Inauguration Day on Jan. 21, 1977, President Jimmy Carter, right, and Rosalynn Carter, second from right, pose with Vice President Walter Mondale and wife, Joan Mondale, left, following Carter’s inauguration in the White House Blue Room in Washington. 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.AP Photo/Peter Bregg

“You’re saying to your staff and others that ‘Fritz Mondale speaks for me, he has my confidence’ makes an enormous amount of difference, and it amazes me how some presidents of the past haven’t understood that,” Biden said to Carter at the time.

“John Kerry is a great secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is a great secretary of state, but there are times when only the vice president — if it’s known of his relationship with the president — can speak for the United States when the president can’t be there, because no one ever doubted when Fritz spoke for you,” Biden continued.

He added that then-President Obama had “empowered” Biden “the same way because he saw how it worked for you.”

Mondale, who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984, made the historic nomination of New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, making her the first female nominee for vice president of a major US political party.

In 2020, Vice President Kamala Harris, alongside President Biden, made history as the first woman to become vice president.

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